Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Ship has set sail...

Well it has been quite a few weeks since our last post and during that time we have been working really hard on the show. We completed our final making week, ran through a tech week and have created a finished show! Hurrah, or should I say Ha Harrrrrr!!!

We performed two previews at the Artsdepot last Friday 13th & Saturday 14th April, and then another show at the Colchester Arts Centre last night. We are currently on our way up to Newcastle for a 3 day run at the Northern Stage. Many of the team have been to Newcastle before and are really excited about returning to the stage there, some of us have never been before and are equally as excited to grace the Geordie Shore.

We had some fabulous production shots taken over the weekend and we would love to share them with you, as we think that they really represent how fun and light-hearted the show is. We particularly love the one of Lucinka and the Parrots - such a great moment in the show.

If you didn't know what to expect from the show by now, you can certainly expect to see moustaches, some real quests, brilliant fighting scenes & cross dressing. Come and see if for yourself and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Are we coming to a town near you?

Interviewing our Elders (with Pirate like qualities)

Over the last few weeks we have been conducting a series of interviews with women who we see as contemporary women 'pirates', those who have had extraordinary (in whatever way) and also somewhat unconventional lives- who may have chosen an unusual path in some way, made some difficult or unconventional decisions, had success in whatever they do, but mainly that they are strong and determined. We liken those qualities to those who must have some of that 'pirate' inner fire, to have been able to make them happen. 

The questions are focussed on how being a woman has had an impact on their life and career and particularly what advice they may have for younger women. We have filmed these interviews and some parts of which may be used at points during the show by being projected on to the set. As the set transforms it will create the feeling of the workings of a ship, with the sails providing an ideal surface for such video projections. The idea is that every night, one of these women will appear as a contemporary female pirate, to offer their own individual musings and advice, which in turn will help the performers on their quest to discover what it is to be a woman in 2012.

Yesterday Kirsty Lothian and I headed to west  London to interview Diana Melly - Author, Former Model and wife of late UK Jazz Artist George Melly. 

Diana was fantastic to speak with, she struck me as somewhat of a non-conformist and one who has led an extraordinary life. Whether Diana likes to think it or not, I certainly felt as though she had a lot of wisdom and sound advice to impart to her younger counter parts, there was a real sense of being at ease with her self now as an older woman, but interestingly some of the dilemmas that were prevalent to her as a young woman growing up were things that I could certainly relate to as a 20 - something female living in 2012. 

Read more about Diana Melly here in an interview for The Guardian by Lynn Barber. 

Lorraine Wood 
Assistant Producer - The Pirate Project 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Getting Physical...

'Come up you cowards and fight like men...'

You can bet your bottom dollar that of the many things that Pirates are famous for, being able to hold your own in a fight is one of them. Both Anne Bonney and Mary Read were well known for their violent tempers and ferocious fighting. So to stay true to history we enlisted the help of Fight Director, Chris Main to come into the rehearsal room and teach us how to fight with a sword and throw a punch or two. 

Here is a little snippet of what we've been learning. 

For anyone having problems viewing the footage, please link to YouTube

For anyone having problems viewing the footage, please link to YouTube

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Over the last few weeks our fantastic Set Designer, Philip Eddolls a.k.a Phleds, has been busy designing and building The Pirate Project set up in Leeds. 
Phled's has worked with Improbable on numerous projects over the years and understands  this way of working. His skillful approach to collaboration, will complement Lucy's devising process. The performers will use and respond to the set during rehearsals and the various mechanisms, objects and hidden treasures will help work towards and shape the finished show. 

The sketches below will give you a little taste of what you can expect to see on stage. 

A seemingly simple design with three gauze covered panels and a rather corporate looking speakers stand is somewhat deceptive, as it conceals a whole world that is yet to be unleashed. 

The set will go through a process of transformation throughout the show, turning the panels on their sides, revealing a concealed crows nest, and using ropes and pulleys in order to resemble a pirate ship and all of its working functions. This in combination with video projections will help to create an atmosphere of being at sea.  

Monday, 19 March 2012

We began on Monday with nothing...

No show, no props, no set. 

The room was empty for a while, then some croissants arrived and then some people, in ones or twos and stood around with that first day of rehearsals kind of awkwardness. Everything has to begin somewhere so of course there is a first day but really you just want it to fast-forward to day two. That said, by 11.30 opening the space to the creative team and performers had filled an entire wall with A4 paper, suggesting enough material for about 3 shows on female pirates, which is exciting and daunting. An idea on a piece of paper is full of promise and potential but it is also 2d, unmade, and requires a commitment to some hard work to breath life into its potential.

The week, as they do, begins slowly and then gets faster and faster. The room fills with polystyrene mannequin heads, skateboards, pirate hats, a parrot (of course), and a ladder. Before we know it, it's Friday and the week has disappeared, cue more worry about how we are ever going to work fast enough if this week is anything to go by! But playing the game of doing a Friday afternoon 'run through', even though we have very little concrete material, pays off.

The performers before our eyes seem to find their pirate mojos and an excitement begins to bubble up inside me about the potential of what we really have, the 3D material already created, and the week ends with a spirit of 'aharrrrr'. 

Lucy Foster

Hey Mojo!
Lucinka, Simone and Chloe 

Working with some of the props!

Pirates on skateboards - Whatever next?

Finding Your Inner Pirate!

The quest has begun...three women set sail in search of their inner pirate! 

Our three fantastic performers, Chloe Dechery, Lucinka Eisler and Simone Kenyon will be stepping into the shoes of three ancient female pirates of the past, the rarely recorded stories of these fierce swashbuckling women, who sailed the high seas, jumped aboard enemy ships, cut throats for a living and held their own in a male dominated world; will help shape the narrative of the show as it goes through a four week devising process. The performers will infuse their own tales of adventure, recalling times when they have been most Pirate like! 

This quest will aim to discover something about being a woman in 2012, considering female identity, the ambition and confidence that we do or do not possess in our contemporary lives. 

Paying particular attention to the Golden Age of Piracy, we follow the stories of Irish Pirate - Anne Bonny, Ching Shih from China and Mary Read from the shores of England, looking at how these blood thirsty damsels were able to out-sail, out-think, and out-fight every man on the high seas.

How did they do it? Could she still do it today? Has her 21st century counterpart got the guts to stick a dagger between her teeth, fire a broadside and make off with the booty?