PinUpRound tell us about their rehearsal process and mentor session. Images by Jerome Whittingham.
Prior to our rehearsal with Tamsin, we had gathered research in the form of images, articles and music, all in response to the female form. Aside from this, our rehearsal process so far had revolved around finding movements through contact improvisation. This left us in an interesting position of having a lot of material and research but no clear way of linking them. Even though this is our normal way of working and devising material, we did feel a certain amount of pressure to constantly refer back to our initial proposal. Before meeting with Tamsin we spent a long time looking into structuring our work. This is something we were struggling with and began to lose clarity of the piece.
We started off the rehearsal discussing research of the decades, structure and context. This is not our normal way of working and it was reflected in the discussions, as things became less clear to us and the information was overwhelming. We then showed Tamsin a section of movement we had been working on that revolved around the 1950s. The previous discussion had a knock-on effect to performing this section, as we now felt the movement was forced and unclear, much like trying to apply all the research to our piece. To us it felt that Tamsin could also sense us hitting this barrier, and within the next four hours she inspired us to trust our initial way of working and to have faith in the material found.
Tamsin stripped us back to working from contact improvisation as a way of finding movement and images. It was encouraging to work with somebody that found focal points within improvised movements that were then expanded upon through set tasks. For example, she helped us find some strong images through the use of tape measures, creating ugly and unnatural movements. In contrast to this she also helped us find comical moments when focusing on eighties shoulder pads as an image, developing an argument through just the movement of our shoulders. This gave us a fresh way of looking at the use of specific body parts to represent a decade rather than our initial material that seemed to stereotype.
After working like this for a few hours, we returned to our initial section of movement and re-approached using the techniques applied by Tamsin. We found that the movement was much more organic as well as being clear.
Ultimately, the session with Tamsin encouraged us to have faith in our material, and as long as we have our target audience in mind and constant reference to a specific question, the context will come. We felt less constricted and more focused on what we want to achieve and how to approach it.
For us as a new company, this process is about finding our feet and gaining confidence in the work we produce. Working with Tamsin really helped support our style of theatre-making, and from this we gained an understanding that initial proposals are okay to change and adapt through a rehearsal process.
Thank you, Tamsin!
Rachel and Sophie