Archive for June, 2012
Mind the Gap would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who came to see Irresistible last week.
While the heavy rain and high winds prevented us from performing at the Cow & Calf – thanks to the good humour and determination of the production team, Jez and his crew and, most importantly of all, audience members we ran all shows at Mind the Gap Studios!
In the comfort and dry of Studio 1 we hope audiences were able to fully appreciate the music, lighting and projected imagery, as well as the theatre.
Jez Colborne’s character in Irresistible is loosely based on Oddyseus from Greek Mythology … the relentless bad weather between 21-23 June has made us wonder if the Gods were determined to keep the Cow & Calf on Ilkley Moor to themselves. Perhaps we need to do something more spontaneous instead …? We’ll keep you posted if we have any further thoughts about this!
In the meantime, we’d really appreciate any feedback you are able to give us (please be honest!). You can leave your comments here or on our Facebook page or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello everyone, today I’m going to tell you about the two different kinds of sirens that we have in the show. Quite a few people have asked me questions about this.
In the Irresistible show there are two kinds of sirens: the wide-warning sirens – which are a personal passion of mine – and two singers who we call the Sirens.
When I was a kid I didn’t like sirens at all. This might be due to the fact that
I lived not far from a fire station. At the time I didn’t want to listen to them. Quite a few years later, I was on tour with Mind the Gap and I went into an internet caffe. This was when I decided that I must get over my fear so I looked up siren noises on the internet. I now find music in the sounds of the sirens. But, for most people their sound is repulsive.
At Mind the Gap, we decided to play with the idea of opposite forces: attraction and repulsion. I can hear music where most people hear noise. We took inspiration from the mythological story of Odysseus, where the Sirens are beautiful women that, with their hypnotic songs, try to lure Odysseus away. From the Greek myth we took also the idea that Odysseus rebels against to Zeus and break his faith. Like Odysseus, I resist the temptation of being attracted by the singer Sirens.
Joyce, one of the singer Sirens, told us that our theatre Acting Company – discussed that the myth of Odysseus is very male orientated; the focus is mainly on how men see the Sirens. Nobody asks what the Sirens want. So, the Acting Company decided to explore a female approach to the Sirens. Together they found out that what the Sirens have to attract men in order to survive and what they want – like any other women – is to love and be loved and don’t want to kill. With Tim and Si I have shaped this idea and put it into a lyrics. This song is called Love Sets Us Free. In this way the Sirens also have a voice and a chance to be heard. In Love Sets Us Free the Sirens ask “Why do we kill the only things that set us free?”
The Sirens are performed by Joyce Lee, Lisa Mallagham, and Lizzy Wharton. Lizzy is a sign language interpreter who translates all the Irresistible songs.
Looking for something a bit different to do this summer? Do you like cultural events in interesting places?
Irresistible is a symphony of sirens set within the rural beauty of the Cow & Calf on Ilkley Moor. It’s a large-scale musical experience that combines warning sirens and choral music with projections on rock faces and dramatic lighting to create a breathtaking and once-in-a-life-time experience.
Featuring a cast of more than 30 actors and musicians, Irresistible includes seven new songs inspired not only by sirens but by blues, country, rap and hip hop. It promises to be a musical mix that will tell a story through music, movement, drama and light.
To give you a taste of what to expect, enjoy these highlights production in Autumn 2010, but please imagine yourself there on a beautiful summer evening this June!
Practical information about the event.
The audience will meet at the Ilkley Train Station car park 10 minutes before the production starts. A free coach will transport you to and from the Cow & Calf. This journey is part of the performance. The entire piece will take around two hours (including coach travel).
The main part of the performance is outdoors at The Cow & Calf, a rock formation set on Ilkley Moor. To reach the quarry there is a short walk (5 mins) via a stone paved path that is uneven and uphill. Audience members will stand throughout the show (approx 1 hour). Please wear suitable footwear and check the weather report.
See you there!
Hi everyone, Jez here. Today I’m going to tell you about a new skill that Irresistible is pushing me to learn: clogging and foot percussion. Clog Dancing is a folk dance born out of the industrial revolution, and it presents some similarity with creating music out of alarm sirens. Both are found in industrial places and unconventionally used as instruments.
To arrive to the foot rhythm that we are using in the show, we went on an exploratory journey with a professional foot percussionist: Billy Hikling who is a veteran of STOMP. Billy patiently guided us through exploration, discipline and routine.
First of all, we explored Appalachian clogging. This style comes from America and uses a shuffle-rock step and forms the basis of modern day tap. Although very beautiful, this style doesn’t sit as naturally as the older form of Lancashire clogging with my body and me. I prefer it’s toe-heel-toe step to the American shuffle step. The two schools, even though slightly different, pursue the same rhythm. So, we decided to go back to the British roots and embrace the Lancashire toe-heel clogging style.
It wasn’t only about going back to the British origins but also to the history of the very building we are based in. In fact, Billy told us, the Lancashire ‘toe-heel’ style comes from the sound made by the textile Looms – which the Lister silk Mill was full of when it was at full flow. If you close your eyes, you can hear the silk machines, toe-heel-toe; toe-heel-toe; the factory at the top of the hill never stopped…
Loads of water has gone under the bridge since then and footwear has evolved incredibly. Frankly, I find clogs uncomfortable plus they didn’t fit the look of my costume at all, so we created our own footwear. We added taps under our boots; after clogs, after tap shoes, we now have tap boots! However, in rehearsal I’ve often used tap shoes.
Week by week, Wednesday by Wednesday we started putting a long clogging routine together which was very disciplined. Precision is very important in this job, it’s all about stomping your feet on the ground exactly in sync with the other person you are dancing with. We pieced together different patterns of clogging and now we have our own routine.
For weeks, it was all about coordination and thinking about the rhythm. We had to use our brains to drill the rhythm into them. As Billy says, it’s all about knowing the routine by heart and you get to the point that your body knows it and you don’t have to think about it anymore, you can simply do it. After only three months, I can’t say that I’m an expert, but I feel I’ve come a long way since I’ve started.
When JoAnne and I do the clog-off, I start first, she follows and then the Crew join in. After a little bit I get faster and faster while the Crew keep the same pace. The difference in the rhythm represents the fact that I beat the Crew. I can’t tell you any more than this, you have to come and watch us!
I like working with JoAnne, she is doing a great job at keeping the crew in time which is necessary!
I’ve enjoyed working with Billy because he is a very patient person and we had great chats at lunch breaks about music in general. A few years ago I would have never thought about clogging, whilst now, I can really see how clogging brings a new dimension to music. If it wasn’t for Billy, I wouldn’t have known about clogging and he has taught me well. He helped me to see the link between clogging and sirens too.
A famous songs says “there is music in the clatter of the clogs” so I say that the sounds of the sirens is music not noise.
Hopefully sparks will fly…