Projects 2010 > You're So Happy I Want To Die > Journal
My brain is only just processing all the info from Birmingham that we gathered over the last few weeks. However this is what I do know:
My sign has improved after visiting lots of deaf groups in Birmingham and the surrounding area. We made some lovely new contacts and it was great to meet lots of people that then came to see our show. We were pretty amazed by the deaf turnout and on the second night of the performance tests they had loads to say.
I’ve remembered how hard it is to direct and act at the same time and it took me a while to get back into the swing of that. We didn’t have time to get stand in actors organised for these tests but we now know that we definitely need them for the next time we test. (But it was really fun going into a wedding shop in character in order to get the dress).
I know that I threw too much into the tests so there was a lot for an audience to process in a ten minute scene. (Think bells and whistles and streamers and cake). However it was really interesting to see what they picked ot from all that and how different Wed audience was to Thursday’s audience.
I know that we still have a long way to go but I am feeling more confident about the direction it will take. I’m not sure how much of it we will manage within the Sandbox timeframe but I think we are beginning to distinguish a path for the longterm.
Things I don’t know:
How to manage the balance between artistic and accessibility. This is hard and sometimes frustrating as you want something to be visually arresting but how do you manage the relationship between digital and live media and making sure people are not overwhelmed by too much info or imagery?
What our style is and how we can set up a series of rules to contain that. I think we are beginning to discover some of the rules – e.g. maximum font and line size on the screen behind the action, smileys work on computers but rarely in theatre, but we still have a long way to go on this.
How long is a piece of string?
I feel like we are definitely making progress and it has been brilliant having Yousif involved even if we forced him to invent the term – “extremely rapid prototyping” when faced with the timescale and creating a programme to respond to changes in volume and pitch. He did amazingly and the audience all responded really positively to the live response captions so we know that this is something we definitely want to take further.
We ended up having to wizard of oz the sensor technology (we did the gestures as though there were sensors embedded in my wedding dress and Sophie’s bag but the corresponding effects were all pre-programmed) but it was really interesting how people responded to it. Quite a few did not make the correlation between the gestures and the effects triggered on screen and suggested they would have liked the triggering to become more obvious. This threw up a really interesting artistic question for me about how apparent to make the technology within the piece. Isn’t it more interesting for people to work it out over time – sort of like a game? I am really interested to see in the future if we can plant the seed of gesture trigger during a show and see if the audience works it out over the course of the show. A bit like the moment you realise Bruce Willis is dead in that film. I’ll be really interested to see what everyone thinks about “transparent technology” within their pieces on our next meet up.