We learnt a lot from our session with Conan. Firstly, our introduction to our performance is good, Conan liked the blanket and the acceptance to take part with the scallop shell. We also discovered we need to introduce our tour to everyone at the beginning to avoid repetition throughout the tour to each individual: instructions such as ‘should you need more time, feel free to pause the audio’ etc. Secondly, the practicalities of our tour – listening to an audio tour while holding a map is very distracting and most likely means our audience will not take in the site around them which is exactly what we did not want to happen. Instead we will get rid of the map and guide them only using the audio, meaning we will have to write a detailed enough description in order for them to follow our instructions accordingly. We also discovered we had over complicated our tour; activities at each site is not necessary and it would be much better to free up our audience more to allow them to soak up their surroundings. This means we have more time for perceptions to be heard at the site which I believe would be more beneficial to our audience in terms of a journey. We also discovered instead of activities we should have ‘coincidences’ such as one member playing cats cradle on the bench at the Tennyson site, while the audience listen to the ‘cradle song’ and perhaps another member handing out tea to keep up with the fun feel and to keep them warm on their ‘journey’. We should also stick to the circular side of our journey – even if our sites do not venture further than the Tennyson statue it would be more beneficial to have the audience walk all the way round to the meeting point again as hopefully, while the audience are drinking their tea, they will feel relaxed and therefore look around without feeling pressured making the journey back to the beginning and hopefully seeing the cathedral in a whole new light.
Author Archives: Jessica Martin
Sites and Scallops
Simon Reeve’s documentary about Pilgrimage was informative and has cemented the idea that the purpose of our audio walk definitely needs to be with a focus on a ‘journey’. Pilgrimages are plagued with symbolism – which we didn’t even know about. A scallop is a symbol of a pilgrimage allover the world. As part of an initiation process for our walk we wanted people to take something as an acceptance into our journey, the scallop is a good idea both practically and symbolically as certain people will recognise the symbolism and others will learn this at the end of their ‘pilgrimage’. The sense of a journey will hopefully be felt by subtle changes along our tour – such as the shift in age of the voices in the audio and a knowledge about certain spots in the cathedral that they didn’t have before. Through reading an extract from Theatre/Archaeology there is a statement that says “Do not begin with the question ‘what is it?’ instead ask ‘what does it do?'” (Pearson and Shanks 2001, 53). This is the mentality we hope to instil in our Pilgrims throughout their journey. For example when looking at the scallop – what does it do? It is a recognised symbol of pilgrimage and it represents the sacrifice undertaken to travel to a site of religious importance. This is a far better outlook than simply stating what the scallop is.
I also decided to re-listen to some of the Guardian podcasts we listened to earlier in the semester. This has been useful as they have been created for a specific place just like our walk has. This has been useful as it has helped me think critically about background noises in the audio. Some of the background noises can be quite distracting for example the sipping in Adrian Howells and the ‘drip’ and ‘patter’ in Lemn Sissay’s. This has made me think we should have realistic sounds appropriate to the Cathedral grounds.
Pearson, M. and Shanks, M. (2001) Theatre/Archaeology. London: Routledge.
Recently we have been having a bit of trouble developing our idea further, however, yesterday we had a bit of an idea. Since gaining access to Westgate school was becoming less likely, we decided all the viewpoints may not be from children, this then actually inspired us to pursue our idea further and incorporate view points from people of all ages. We could then perhaps subtly incorporate this into our walk in the form of a pilgrimage, viewpoints starting off as more imaginative in the start while becoming more realistic as the journey/pilgrimage goes on. Two years ago I went on a Pilgrimage in Rome and safe to say I felt very differently about the place when I left than when I arrived, although our walk wont be as long as my pilgrimage I want to incorporate this sense of a journey and change into our walk.
Unknowingly to us we had s similar vision to Southbank centre a ‘world famous arts centre’ in London. They have the vision of “Part walking tour, part site-specific performance, this urban pilgrimage combines poetry, soundscapes and storytelling to scrape away at the surface of the city, revealing the hidden histories and geological realities beneath our feet.” (Chivers, 2013) And quite frankly I can’t believe the similarity in our idea to this statement considering we have only just seen this. This inspires me to pursue our idea as we created it organically from walking around Lincoln Cathedral, just as a world famous arts centre have had the same idea from a whole different stimulus.
Tom Chivers (2013) Southbank Centre. [Online] Available from http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/tom-chivers-73727 [Accessed on 17th March 2015]
When we grow up
Throughout research for our piece we have come across poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Not only are these appropriate because the statue around the cathedral is one of our stop off points on the map, but the poem we have found also corresponds with our theme of looking at the world through the perspective of a child. Tennyson has written a poem called ‘Cradle Song’:
What does little birdie say
In her nest at peep of day?
Let me fly, says little birdie,
Mother, let me fly away.
Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till thy little wings are stronger.
So she rests a little longer,
Then she flies away.
What does little baby say,
In her bed at peep of day?
Baby says, like little birdie,
Let me rise and fly away.
Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till thy little limbs are stronger.
If she sleeps a little longer,
Baby too shall fly away.
(Tennyson, 1933, 5)
This has led us to discuss the oppression we are sometimes felt as children. Childhood is supposed to be a time of freedom but often and especially in modern times children don’t have the childhood freedom they perhaps should. The poem talks of a ‘birdie’ who wants to fly away but his mother insists he stays until he is stronger, this has led us to propose a new stance on our walk: we want to instil the freedom on our audience that a child should have, we want them to leave their bags (coats if they wish) and give them ultimate freedom to be alone with their thoughts and explore the grounds like they never have before. The idea that they download the track onto their phone is so maybe in the future they may stumble across it and it should take them back to that freedom felt by them as they participate in our tour.
Watson Bain, A. (1933) A poetry book for boys and girls. Cambridge: University Press.
After reading Urban adventure in Rotterdam I was fascinated by the idea of doing a performance with a focus on the ordinary things in life.This idea goes alongside with our plan to do an audio walk with the voices of children as they too recognise the excitement in things we may see as ordinary.So far our plan is to incorporate an audio walk with a map (drawn by a child) with numbered stops along the way for audience members to play a part of the podcast in which the child will talk about what they see (which we will have recorded from earlier). One of the stops around the cathedral is the statue of Alfred Lord Tennyson which has inspired us to incorporate poems into our walk as read out by a child, this we hope will inspire the participants to see different ways things can be interpreted; not just words but physical things such as status or engravings in the cathedral. One particular part of our walk where this will have emphasis is at the front of the cathedral an engraving that could be seen as quite sinister to an adult but we are hoping to a child it will be received very differently.
Urban Adventure in Rotterdam. (2013) [blog entry] 29 June. Available from http://uair01.blogspot.nl/2013/06/yet-another-countertourism-tactic-2.html [Accessed 2nd March 2015].