I would like to know yours!! For my final year of drama at school we have to make up a play about ANYTHING and that gives us a wide range. Trouble is, I am totally stuck for initial ideas, so I thought I'd turn to the lovely Nerdfighteria.
If you're happy to share (and it doesn't have to be personal stuff) I would love to hear any life stories, any books/music/films that really resonated with you and why, any news stories that made you think, places you have travelled, something you bought. What have you seen/done/not done/aspired to do/regretted? ANYTHING!
I know this is very vague, but it's because I need some inspiration and am genuinely interested! Thank you in advance :D
Hiya! Is this for A-Level Drama? If you are writing the play yourself, then the best thing I can recommend would be getting yourself a couple of newspapers and reading them cover to cover. Whatever grabs you, makes you think, makes you want to do something is where you should start. You need to find something you really care about, not just something you think will make good 'drama'. Go out and people-watch. Write down who you see and what you hear. Talk to your tutors about whether or not you are allowed to adapt existing stories or plays, if so there is a wealth of material ready for you to play with! If you're devising in a group then PLAY. Play as much as possible. Bring in an object and see how many things you can do with it. Stare at lights til you can't anymore. Close your eyes and draw the flashing images the lights have left behind. Find patterns in those images. Put your pen on the page and don't stop writing til your hand hurts. Then go back and find the lines that stick out, or connect together. Make a mess. Find words and images you like and see what story builds around them, rather than just saying 'right. we're going to write a play about bullying and teenage pregnancy. Who want's to be the bully?' Most of all, HAVE FUN! Write what you want to! As long as you can justify your choices to an examiner you can let your imagination run free!
Yep, A level drama it is! Thank you for your advice, are you a drama student at the moment? I totally know what you mean about the 'bullying. Who wants to be the bully?' and refuse for my final piece to go in such a childish way :P I'm just going to start watching people as I'm out and about now, should be fun :P Unfortunately we have a very limited time scale, we put the performance on in the first week of December so it doesn't give us as much time as we're used to for devising in school but I'll make sure we play around with ideas enough first :D
I graduated a year ago from the contemporary theatre degree at mmu (course valedictorian = SUPERtheatrenerd :D ) and now have my own theatre company! We devise all our own work and did right the way through uni so it's something I'm pretty experienced in!
WOW ok, you're like, everything that I want to be :P That's amazing, I've been thinking recently about becoming part of/setting up a theatre company after uni - only a vague idea as it's a long way off, but still! How did you get started in setting up your own company? How many people are involved? Did you do any kind of work experience with theatre companies beforehand? Do you have a specific style? Sorry I'm completely interrogating you, this is just exciting me a lot, I've never had a chance to speak with anyone 'in the industry' as it were!
haha that's ok, I like talking about it :p
Really the only things that's absolutely required is to get some people and go, right...so we're a company ok?! It's kind of that simple.
There's two of us at the heart of the company but we have a couple of friends who work with us and do our tech, and sometimes we might collaborate with other artists. We met at uni and worked together a lot through the course, and formed the company (little white dress) in our third year. We applied for a bunch of festivals with one of our graduating pieces and as if by magic suddenly we were a professional theatre company on tour! (and yes we got paid an absolute pittance and the audiences mainly consisted of our friends and family but you have to start somewhere!).
The work I make with little white dress definitely has a specific style. We tend to make work that's very experimental, fragmented and poetic. The piece we graduated with and toured was a deconstruction of Hitchcock's 'The Birds', exploring the construction of femininity. The piece we're writing now is about fandoms!
We worked a lot with professional theatre-makers at uni, most of our lecturers also had theatre companies, and we'd get guest directors in and stuff. In my second year I went and studied in holland at the toneelacademie and worked with a director there and performed at various festivals and stuff. Most uni courses should be set up so you get the chance to get some experience with professionals within that safe environment before you tackle it on your own...
I've also done some work since graduating with other companies (just been in a show with red ladder and about to start one with Robert Wilson which I am FREAKING OUT over). It's always good to keep working with new people and to learn new ways of working!
For some reason I've always felt that this particular adventure of mine was story-worthy, even if nothing that spectacular happened, and it could be expanded or embellished in many ways. I'll warn you now that this is quite long, so feel free to skim, but everything I included seemed important (at least to me).
Last spring I won two EuRail train passes, and because my parents are awesome they basically handed my brother and I some money and plane tickets and let us romp around in Europe for a few weeks. (I was not quite 19 and my brother 20 at the time.) We flew into Brussels and took a train to our first real stop, Bruges. We had already visited the place once (the prior time I had a sort of breakdown at the top of the tower, which in combination with ziplining on a mountain helped my kick my fear of heights, but that's another story) with our parents, largely because we all love the film In Bruges. If you haven't seen it, you should-- it's a dark British comedy with great writing, some surprisingly deep themes, 3 actors from the Harry Potter movies, and Colin Farrell. The film will give you a better sense of what it was like for us there than any description I could give, really.
From Bruges we went to Amsterdam. In case you don't quite get the implications of that, I'll emphasize that two unsupervised college students went to Amsterdam. Which, aside from the Anne Frank house (visited on a previous trip to the city, which involved us almost being killed by a tram and driving through the red light district), is visited largely because of pot and prostitution. It's really quite lovely, though, Amsterdam, gorgeous, really, and the food is good. Or maybe that was, you know, the pot. My brother, the president of his fraternity at the time, was able to coach me through the process, and we had some nice sibling bonding in a smokey little cafe near the central train station before we wandered about Amsterdam in search of a flea market. We got rather hopelessly lost and walked for several miles and cursed at many maps, but we did have the best crepes that I've ever experienced or will ever experience, I'm sure.
We intended to go to Berlin after Amsterdam, but due to scheduling conflicts we unfortunately had to skip it, and made our way to Rome. Do not go to Rome in the summer. It is a terrible place to be. Particularly do not go to museums with no air conditioning in the heat, and do not attempt to get a tour of the underground of the Coliseum without a reservation. Do try the watermelon and gelato from the roadside stand, which is delicious, and do explore the gardens near the coliseum, which are both beautiful and feature some really cool water fountains which demonstrate the genius of Roman engineering.
At this point my brother and I were dearly missing people who spoke our language, American fast food, and the feeling of being clean, as we'd spent about half our nights on trains and hadn't been showering as much as was ideal. We meant to leave from Rome, but it would have required a lengthier stay, so instead my parents reserved two nights for us in Budapest at a few very nice hotels and asked us to scout the city for them, as they were considering visiting.
We took a night train where we stayed up half the night talking with three British teens in our room about anything and everything, and then fell into sleep which was disturbed five to seven times by the train stopping and our passports and tickets being checked.
Budapest is beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. The heat is dreadful, but the architecture is so beautiful that it almost makes you ache just a little, like you can't quite comprehend how human hands could have wrought something so magnificent. Unfortunately we arrived on the weekend, so many tourist attractions were closed. We had to settle for sight-seeing the architecture and eating the food, which was obscenely delicious.
And that was it. I should note that the plane travel involved in the trip was very cheap, as one of my parents works in the travel industry, and that our parents' contributions were supplemented by our own funds-- you know, so you don't think I'm an ungrateful spoiled brat. I mean, I'm a bit spoiled, clearly, but I'm very grateful.
Hopefully this was helpful to you... I rambled on quite a bit-- sorry!
Thank you for replying, I didn't skim any of it, I found it really interesting! I'm thinking of doing the same thing with a couple of friends next summer, Interrailing. From what you've told me it sounds great, thanks for sharing your experience :D
By the way, I am completely in love with 'In Bruges', my boyfriend showed it to me a couple of weeks ago and it is possibly one of the funniest things I've ever seen, such a brilliant cast! I've been to Bruges briefly (for like 3 hours on the way back from Germany) and the film really did portray the atmosphere of it exactly how I remembered!
And don't worry about the whole spoiled brat thing, you don't sound like that at all, you do seem really grateful for the experience and not like you take it for granted, which is what's important :)
Did you ever feel completely out of your depth travelling to all of these places? Did each place seem to have it's own identity or make you feel a certain way? Or did you just feel like a visitor, just looking around? I'm just asking to get a few more ideas because it's a great starting point :)
I should probably note first that other than train stations and Budapest, I had visited all the locations we went to before, particularly Rome. This greatly helped in giving us an idea of what we were doing while knocking about in Europe. Bruges, as you noted, has a very distinct sort of personality. All of the cities do, really-- loads of character and history. Rome seemed like the biggest and most intimidating, but we'd been there about three times before so we knew our way around pretty well. Bruges is small enough that you don't really get lost anywhere, and it really is rather like a fairy tale. (We even saw swans!) Amsterdam is really open and relaxed and seems to be really modern while at the same time cherishing and jiving with its roots, and it meshes really well. Budapest's food and architecture were all really rich, and it felt a bit like Baroque, only with a lot less gold and gaudiness.
I feel like I should also mention beer and chocolate, because if you're in Bruges, you really need to have both of those things. They've got hundreds of different kinds of beer, and while I'm not a big fan of beer in general, they absolutely do it right. And, you know, chocolate is chocolate.
Ahhhhhhh Belgian chocolate - it cannot be beaten! Thanks for all your help, this has really given me some ideas :D
I will try to make this as short as I can. There was a good few years of hell for me. First off my best friends betrayed me. That sucked really bad for me and thats when I fell into depression and started to have more and worse mental problems.
2 years after that My father died of liver and renal failure due to alcohol abuse. I then thought the best solution was to follow in his foot steps and start getting drunk. It was almost every day that I was drinking and one year after that my grandmother was admitted to the hospital with west nile virus. She died that night with all the people she loved around her. Since my Grandmother was gone there was no one left to watch over my grandfather who had an ammonia build up in his brain. So the best choice was to have an alcoholic with mental problems of his own to watch the old man. 6 months later he died of complications and I was free of the burden placed on me. Save for the alcoholism. 8 months ago I put down the bottle and haven't picked it up since. Yay me.
Yeah, that pretty much sounds like hell. I feel sad for everything you've gone through, that's more than enough pain for anyone to have to experience. Thanks for sharing it :)
Thank you for your sympathy :)