Resource and Information Pack 1
ÂŠ Trestle Theatre Company September 2008
THIS PACK IS COLOUR CODED FOR EASY REFERENCE:
Practical Exercises and Devising People Themes Curriculum Music and Dance Information & Description
CONTENTS 3. Introduction
25. Practical Exercises
4. A note from the Director
29. Flamenco: History
6. The Company
31. Flamenco: The Music
7. Curriculum Context
9. About the Production
37. Practical Exercises
38. Flamenco: Dance
12. Who Was Lola Montez?
40. Practical Exercises
13. The Spider Dance
42. Themes: Celebrity
14. Perceptions of Lola Montez
45. Practical Exercises
15. Devising: Impro
47. Themes: Roles of Women
16. Interviews with Actors
49. Useful Links
22. Devising: Text
50. Appendix: -Text stimulus -Script Extracts -Flamenco Glossary
THOUGHT POINTS are interspersed throughout this pack, giving suggestions for exercises and prompting ideas for creating your own piece 2
‘Lola’ is the continuation of Trestle’s developing style, experimenting with new physical and visual forms of theatre making. By using Flamenco as a starting point, the company have created a fresh, vibrant and exciting physical language to explore the life of Lola Montez. Trestle also continues to develop its focus on collaboration and Internationalism. The bringing together of a contemporary Flamenco dance company, an internationally acclaimed composer and musician, and artists from Trestle itself has been a long journey of discovery. This pack is designed to give you an insight into the processes employed by Trestle in creating the performance, and opportunities to try those for yourself. Included in this Education and Resource pack are interviews with the cast and production team describing their involvement with the show. There is information on the history and component parts of Flamenco, as well as a taste of ‘Duende’, regarded as the mystical spirit of Flamenco. We also introduce you to some of the themes within the production, and their contemporary relevance. We have provided you with some ideas and exercises that you can use with your group enabling you to explore the story, ideas, and storytelling techniques behind ‘Lola’. The content of this pack can be used to link in with various elements of the national Curriculum and with GCSE and A Level specifications. Together with this pack Trestle also offers a highly physical and practical workshop entitled ‘Playing With Fire’. For more information please contact Anna on 01727 738407 or visit our website at www.trestle.org.uk _____________________________________________________________________
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR…
Having heard about Lola Montez, I began to delve into her actual story and the numerous myths that have grown around and about her; I rapidly realised that her story is innately theatrical, thoroughly relevant to contemporary society and that her achievements as a nineteenth century woman need to be told and celebrated. I began to search for a Flamenco dance company who might be inspired by Lola’s story and excited by the lack of authenticity in Lola’s Spanish dance and her fabricated persona. In Increpación Danza from Barcelona we found our fellow adventurers; they work with a fusion of contemporary and Flamenco dance and create highly theatrical shows, and we soon found shared intrigue and humour in Lola’s persona. During a week together at Trestle Arts Base with a group of theatre and dance makers, Increpacion and Trestle discovered meeting points between dance and theatre, Flamenco and contemporary dance styles, Spanish and British languages. Together with Ricardo Garcia, a Spanish guitarist who lives in the UK we explored gestural, dance, theatre and music languages with which to create the production. I have cast actors rather than dancers, in order to evoke the style of performance I believe Lola excelled in; she had little technique but carried off her shows through brilliant performance, audience interaction, wit and improvisation. We are devising the piece with a Dramaturg who will draw on words recorded through Lola’s lifetime as well as improvised dialogue to structure and script the show. The rehearsal process will be one of collaboration and the piece will develop as it tours and responds to the audience. The central theme will explore Elizabeth becoming Lola and what she sacrificed in so doing, but also what she gained; Lola was driven by a need to perform and made all events in her life into dramas.
A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR continued… Lola was a shameless self promoter; she instigated and fabricated dramatic events. Everything in the show has been taken from the life stories related by her in the autobiography, lectures and books she wrote, as well as the numerous reviews, letters and biographies written about her, which range from the fantastical to the analytical. Much of the text in the production is verbatim, from the 1840s and 1850s. At this time, the notion of celebrity was dawning and Lola paved the way for women to invent and reinvent themselves, create public personas, explore sexual liberation, hold political power and write on such issues as The art and secrets of beauty with hints to gentlemen on the art of fascinating (Lola Montez, 1858). Lola was never afraid to listen to her audience. She would confront them if necessary, often indulge them and ultimately entertain and enlighten them. We welcome your responses to the show which will help its development on tour and hope you will be inspired by this extraordinary nineteenth century woman who was ahead of her time. Emily Gray Artistic Director Trestle, June 2008
THOUGHT POINT How do you draw on the skills within your group? Trestle collaborated with Increpación Danza to create Lola – what do you think of cross curricular collaboration in your own show? What are the strengths and weaknesses of collaboration?
THE COMPANY Cast Lola
Production Team Director
Montse Sánchez and Ramón Baeza, Increpación Danza
Composer & M.D
Sita Calvert Ennals
Company Stage Manager
Technical Stage Manager
CURRICULUM CONTEXT The exercises included in this resource pack can be used when teaching elements of the National Curriculum specifications in English (Drama) and Citizenship at Key Stages 3&4 as well as with GCSE and A Level specifications in Drama and Theatre Studies.
English@ KS3&4 4) To participate in a range of drama activities and to evaluate their own and others' contributions, pupils should be taught to:
a. use a variety of dramatic techniques to explore ideas, issues, texts and meanings b. use different ways to convey action, character, atmosphere and tension when they are scripting and performing in plays [for example, through dialogue, movement, pace]
Citizenship @KS3&4 2.1
Critical thinking and enquiry Pupils should be able to:
a. engage with and reflect on different ides, opinions, beliefs and values when exploring topical and controversial issues and problems b. research, plan and undertake enquiries into issues and problems using a range of information and sources c. analyse and evaluate sources used, questioning different values, ideas and viewpoints and recognising bias d. evaluate different viewpoints, exploring connections and relationships between viewpoints and actions in different contexts (from local to global) 3)
Range and Content i. the changing nature of UK society, including the diversity of ideas, beliefs, cultures, identities, traditions, perspectives and values that are share
GCSE Drama Assessment Objectives: Students will be assessed on their ability to: AO1 Demonstrate ability in and knowledge and understanding of the practical skills in drama necessary for the realisation of a presentation to an audience, working constructively with others; AO2 Respond with knowledge and understanding to plays and other types of drama from a performance perspective and to explore relationships and comparisons between texts and dramatic styles of different periods and of different cultures in order to show an awareness of their social context and genre;
A Level Drama & Theatre Studies (Edexcel): Unit 5 Devising AO1 Evaluate the effectiveness of the ways in which playwrights, directors, designers and performers use the medium of drama to communicate their ideas to an audience demonstrating knowledge and understanding of social, cultural and historical contexts. AO2 Interpret plays and ideas using the medium of drama in a sophisticated way and justify any artistic decisions from the standpoint of an informed playwright, director, performer and/or designer. AO3 Communicate ideas, feelings and/or meaning to an audience making effective use of performing and/or design skills within the context of both devised and scripted work.
THOUGHT POINT There are several cross-curricular links within the process of exploring Lola. For example: History, Personal Social Education, Music Are there others? Would you consider a combined project with another department?
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION Lola is set in 1859 in a lecture hall somewhere in America. Lola is performing what is to become the last lecture of her own life story. Her one-time travelling partner and performance ‘sister’, Minnie, as well as her Spanish musician and muse, Ricardo, join her to help tell her story. It turns out, however, that Lola’s views on what is truthful in her life prove to be somewhat different to Minnie’s.
THOUGHT POINT How does your story compare to Lola’s? In your own life identify influential events, people who’ve had a big impact, your most vivid memories. How would you story-tell your own life?
Told through a fiery blend of Flamenco dance and rhythm, text and live music by acclaimed Flamenco guitarist Ricardo Garcia, the show plays with the truth and illusion of public and private personas and questions the personal cost of celebrity. Lola lived through and contributed to the birth of the notion of celebrity; she was a shameless self-promoter and fabricator of dramatic stories and events. While the production is set in the 19th Century its themes are highly relevant to today’s celebrity driven society.
To view a filmed extract from ‘Lola’ follow this link:
CHARACTERS Lola Montez The eponymous heroine of the play. Minnie Lola’s ex-partner in ‘The Montez Sisters’, she was not Lola’s sister but rather Noel Follin’s who became Lola’s lover. Lord Brougham The wealthy and elderly Lord was seduced by Lola on a train journey through England. He is the fist to come under the spell of the newly created persona of ‘Lola Montez’ on her return from Spain. Abramowicz The theatre manager in Warsaw, Poland where Lola performed during her first tour of Europe. During a command performance at the theatre, the Viceroy of Poland fell for Lola and asked her to be his mistress. On her refusal, he was determined to destroy her artistic reputation and had stooges placed at her next performance, to boo her through her dance. Lizst The great composer Franz Lizt was one of the many men in Lola’s life, however one of the few that Lola loved and respected. Realising that he could never love her the way she deserved, and feeling Lola’s behaviour was too erratic, he ended up locking her in a hotel room and making his escape in the night. Dujarier The wealthy and cultured journalist Alexandre Henri Dujarier was the true love of Lola’s life whom she met during her time in Paris. He introduced her to some of the leading figures of the day including Chopin and Balzac. Their happiness did not last long however, and Lola was genuinely heart-broken when he was senselessly killed in a duel defending her honour. King Ludwig of Bavaria The King was completely besotted by Lola. He fawned after her and bestowed gifts, wealth and a title on her. Oblivious to her other affairs (including with his own son), and seduced by her satisfaction of his foot fetish, she was lambasted by Politicians and Public alike and eventually left him stealthily in the middle of the night. Follin Another true love of Lola’s life, Noel Follin was an Irishman living and working in America as an Actor, Director and Producer. Although married, they fell in love and he accompanied Lola on her tour to Australia which he produced. Their relationship was tempestuous, passionate, yet heart-felt, and ended when Follin died falling from the ship on the way back to America. 10
CHARACTERS continued… Mrs. Craigie Lola’s, formerly Eliza’s, mother who sent her packing from India to an English boarding school, and who, after her daughter eloped with her own partner, declared Eliza no longer part of her life by conducting a funeral for her. Mr. James The former lover of Eliza’s Mother, an Army Captain in the Raj, and her first husband, they divorced following his adulterous behaviour. Fanny Kelly Lola’s friend, mentor, and fellow dancer, who was also an actress and society favourite.
THOUGHT POINT Do people in Lola’s life have any characteristics in common? How do people affect and influence the themes of the play?
WHO WAS LOLA MONTEZ?
THOUGHT POINT Compile a selection of photographs of one celebrity. Is each picture different? Can you tell in what circumstance the photograph was taken? What do pictures reveal about a person?
Lola Montez was born as Elisabeth Rosanna Gilbert in Ireland in 1821. She spent her childhood in India where her father, an officer in the British army, was dispatched. Her father died soon after arrival and her mother quickly re-married, sending Elisabeth to an English boarding school due to her “spoilt and half-wild ways”. At the age of 15 she refused the marriage arranged by her mother and instead eloped with her mother’s lover. She soon divorced him and set her ambitions on a life upon the stage. Her mother held a symbolic funeral for her and she remained estranged from her family for the rest of her life.
THOUGHT POINT How was Lola affected by historic events?
As an adult she re-invented herself as the Spanish dancer Lola Montez and travelled throughout the world, performing as a dancer and actress and seducing wealthy, influential men along the way. She led a tumultuous life, never settling in any one place or with anyone for long. At times she was the most famous woman in the world: just as much for her personal antics as those on stage. Indeed, while her performances were celebrated by some she never achieved accolades as a dancer and was often ridiculed by her bemused audiences. Known for her beauty and quick temper, there were many men in Lola’s life including Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt and King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Lola died of pneumonia in 1859 in New York where she lived out her final days as a lecturer and Christian convert. She was just 39 years of age.
THE SPIDER DANCE
THOUGHT POINT Do the spiders that Lola tries to get rid of represent any particular aspect of her life?
Lola’s ‘Spider Dance’ was her trademark with which she amused, entertained and baffled in equal measures. Based on a southern Italian dance, la tarantella, and imbued with her own version of Flamenco, her interpretation depicted the shocking discovery of imaginary spiders in the folds of her dress and the subsequent manoeuvres required to shake them off. The dance was seen as very erotic and risqué for the time as she made frantic attempts to rid herself of the spiders, she gyrated in such a way that her skirt lifted to expose her naked legs. It was quoted by a critic of the day that ‘a sagging programme could always be enlivened by this dance.’
PERCEPTIONS OF LOLA MONTEZ ‘Lola is utterly subversive to all ideas of public morality’ Argus ‘Of course Lola Montez is still a name to conjure among collectors of stage curious and items of decadent import; she was, in truth, a personality of vivid and alluring interest.’ George C Odell ‘Lola comes in-sails in-flies in-arrayed in a costume to which Joseph’s coat could never think of comparing…and does it with so much naïveté, that we feel a sort of satisfaction at the triumph.’ Varlety ‘She has the legs of a doe, but she does not know how to use them, least of all for dancing.’ Charles Morice THOUGHT POINT How would you describe Lola in a sentence? What elements of her personality are most prominent? What elements are more subtle? ‘The most libertinish and indelicate performance that could be given on the public stage’. Sydney Morning Herald ‘…frivolous, naughty as a little child, can charm with a wink, woe to him who falls into her disfavour.’ ‘She is one of the most remarkable and versatile women of the present age; one whose life is a romance.’ ‘Wealth and men went through her hands like sand.’ ‘…above the average height of a woman, magisterial in her manner, with eyes of liquid fire, large and dark brown.’ The Victorians delicately referred to her as "La Grande Horizontele.”
THOUGHT POINT How do the authors of these quotes relate to Lola? Why have they chosen to say this particularly? What do the quotes say about the authors?
DEVISING: IMPROVISATION Improvisation is at the heart of Trestle’s work when creating a production. Following intensive research, development, and the learning of new, practical skills and techniques, the actors spend many hours and days improvising through character and movement often using an array of props and costumes. The actors are encouraged to play within the space and to use their bodies and the particular movement style that Trestle is working with to express story, mood, emotion, character, and text. Below, the actors in ‘Lola’ take us through this particular creative process.
THOUGHT POINT Trestle discovered a wealth of information on the life of Lola Montez. How would you go about researching your characters, the time and place of play?
Interviews with the actors Fiona Puttnam
How has this devising and rehearsal process been different from others that you've been involved with? I've used improvisation as a tool to develop characters before, but never to devise a full length play. With 'Lola' we were improvising from day one. The process was both frightening and liberating, as there were only a few givens to begin with. Emily (our director) knew where the play was set, and that I was some sort of subservient character to Lola, possibly a maid. We had no idea how the life of Lola Montez would be told, so we were encouraged to let our imaginations fly. Sometimes Emily and Esther (our Dramturg) would offer one piece of factual information about Lola and we'd then create a whole scene around this nugget. The scene wouldn't always be factually correct and was full of anachronisms, but we created some fascinating material using this technique, some of which has ended up on the cutting room floor, some in the production. The rehearsal process was most challenging when we were concentrating on a physical language. I found it particularly difficult to improvise without falling back on the security of the spoken word. It made me gain a new found respect for dancers who improvise shows; Georgina and I would invariably end up rolling around the floor in fits of giggles, frustrated that we were so clear in our minds about the images we wanted to create, but restricted by our non-dancers' bodies! 16
Fiona Puttnam continuedâ€Ś
As a performer what skills and tools are needed in devising a production from scratch? The most important skills needed to devise a play from nothing are bravery and trust. As an actor in this sort of production, one needs to be extremely courageous-even when prancing about the rehearsal room feeling like a complete idiot. I've learnt that sometimes the best material comes from improvisations that are seemingly going nowhere. Trust comes into play a great deal when improvising with another actor. Through this rehearsal process I've had to learn not to block ideas from Georgina. It's about going with the flow and trusting in your fellow actor's extraordinary imagination; allowing yourself to play like children; and putting aside the inner sensor that comes with adulthood. You also need to trust the director's vision and the writer's instinct to spin a good yarn. There have been moments during this process when Georgina and I have lost any judgement about what works and what doesn't-this is when we've turned to Emily and Esther and cried, 'Help!'
Fiona Puttnam continuedâ€Ś What are the challenges of playing many characters? The biggest challenge in playing many characters is trying to give them all as full a life as possible - it's easy to become incredibly one-dimensional when switching swiftly from one role to the next. Physically, you have to keep an eye on making the characters as defined as you can. We all walk, talk and think very differently and as an actor, you have to bring that to each role you take on. I enjoy doing lots of accents, but would never want to fall back on an accent change to differentiate between parts. The most important thing is to try and make them real-King Ludwig may be larger than life, but I want the audience to believe that this eccentric, love-struck character could plausibly have behaved in the way that I portray him.
THOUGHT POINT What defines character? Explore unique character traits by placing your characters into the same situation and improvising their individual reactions to the same circumstance.
THOUGHT POINT If you were to meet her, what do you think would be your first impression of Lola? How do we form perceptions of people?
How much research did you do on the real Lola Montez? Initially I read quite a bit on the internet and also looked at photos. Emily and Esther were both using the most recent biography about her, so I read that. I also read Lola’s own lectures and autobiography. Also, another ludicrous biography that read like a fantasy novel! It was interesting in that it conjured up the possible ambience that surrounded her performances. My final read was a novel in French based on her life which, I have to admit, I gave up on. My French was not up to it, nor was my patience! Essentially I read as much as I could and kept doing so through out the rehearsal process. I asked myself ‘what do you do when you are dealing with a real person in a play that has no script?’ You have no dictates, no one has decided which characteristics should be highlighted. This is why the research was vital. Through discussions with Emily and Esther it was clear that Lola fascinated us for very certain reasons. A woman within the confines of a Victorian society, who defied the ordinary routine of a female life and totally reinvented herself, sustained this, caused revolutions and then went on to reinvent herself again by lecturing about herself as though she wasn't herself! These are the broad strokes of her character, but what about the nuances, the quietness, the vulnerability? I found that I had to have as much information as possible so that when we came to devising, I had a lot to use. I needed to understand her and be able to defend her. But I think this boils down to one thing. When presented with a character that you are going to play do you find what you have in common? Or do you find where you both differ? Or both?
Georgina Roberts continued… After all the reading that I had done and the research that was also done by Esther, I was then able to see where Lola and I were very alike - for example telling very bad jokes and finding them funny and having a terrible temper, to name but a few... and with where we differed…she was definitely more heartless than myself and far more outrageous! It was then important to make choices. What characteristics do you show most? It is like every trait of the character is a piece of coloured wool and you have to weave with them to create a tapestry. Which colours are most shown? Which are in the back ground? I kept researching, kept going over her writing to keep my relationship with her alive, to keep discovering her. When it comes to Lola, however, there are so many mysteries due to the fact that she kept changing the stories of her life!
What have been the challenges of fusing Flamenco dance, music and text together? Flamenco is a highly technical art form, and the audience expect to see that. They have preconceptions, so how do you deliver that when you are not a Flamenco dancer and your training has not been extensive? I tried to approach it with a ‘Lola’ attitude, after all that is what she did. She created her own style with what little she knew and was either liked or thought to be appalling.
Georgina Roberts continued… The problem however is not solved easily as you cannot transport the audience into the mentality of a 19th century audience; a woman jumping about with great passion and lifting her skirts would have been new, enthralling and quite saucy. Today, I am afraid, the audience demand more, they want to see excellent stamping and technical expertise. The other challenge is how to really fuse dance, music and text. They are all individual forms of expression and there can be a danger that they become compartmentalised, that they don't really fuse together, so the story telling can seem clumsy while narrative can move clunkily from one art form to another. At worst the narrative stops while a lovely exhibition of movement or song happens. When you fuse successfully you are attempting to keep the story going and to use a combination of more than one form to tell the story, to tell the emotional life of the character. Also, you don't want the fusion to become self-conscious, as in, “Hey look at us aren't we clever expressing ourselves through text, music and dance!” The staple questions we kept asking ourselves were, “Does it tell the story? Is it moving the story along?” I think the way I attempted to surmount this challenge was by continually trying to explore moments through each, both or three of the art forms; not just trying text, but exploring it through the body and through movement. It helped that Ricardo was present through most of the devising as he kept responding musically to what we were creating and we too responded to him. Movement wise, we had a scant Flamenco tool box but one, still, which we kept exploring. We learnt other forms of dance as well. Very basic Irish and Indian, and that also gave us another tool box to dip into. As an actor, you have to react not just in the head but the whole body. How does that make one feel and how does it resound in the body? Is it a weakness?... A strength?... Extend that sensation and see how it makes the body move... It is a physical approach to text. You don't want the text not to be dynamic and to just sit on top of the movement and music like a lifeless monotone. It must have the same life that dance and music have. It has to be alive. THOUGHT POINT Choose a section of the play and decide its themes. In three groups express the main themes individually in dance, words and sound. Show the work and discuss contrasting results. Could all three be combined?
DEVISING: TEXT The script of ‘Lola’ evolved over a long process of research, development, and devising. There was no writer as such, but rather a Dramaturg who brought elements of character, story and language together to shape and mould the script. The text is an amalgamation of Lola’s own words taken from her many writings, the words created in rehearsal through the improvisation period, and words created by the Dramaturg Esther Richardson herself. Below, she tells us her journey and process.
An interview with Esther Richardson, Dramaturg:
What is the role of the Dramaturg? This role is still quite a new idea in British theatre and it can mean very different things. It really depends on the project. Dramaturg is actually a German word, and in theatres in Europe there will often be a Dramaturg working in partnership with a director on a new piece of work. More commonly over here we have a writer and director working on a play that the writer will have written. The writer is the "author" of the work, and the director "interprets" the play - it's a very clear relationship. Yet when you are devising a production, the process is entirely different obviously from the more conventional process of directing a play that has already been written. 22
Esther Richardson continued… One of the most important differences between these two processes is that in devising, the play has more than one "author". My role as the Dramaturg on ‘Lola’ has been firstly to focus on the structure of the play. To read and research all the material and think carefully about what is at the heart of this story. It's complicated because, of course, this is someone's true life story, and it's a big responsibility to take on a biographical narrative. In many ways the biggest challenge for me has been to help Emily shape a play from the material that has both a dramatic structure but that is still a true account of Lola's life. When we started we had so much material, and of course we wanted to put everything into the play... but it would have been about 12 hours long! So one of my jobs has been to be quite ruthless about staying true to what we felt was the heart of Lola's story. When we started rehearsals, Emily, the actors and I had already talked about the play in quite a lot of detail, so we had already created a skeleton outline of it. So for example we knew that Fiona's character would be a maid - but we didn't know who she really was. We also knew that the play would end with the spider dance. We had made a big list of all Lola's lovers, and settled on the main 'men' in her life, and we had decided to take the audience on a journey that wasn't chronological, so that you discovered the truth about the character's background later in the play. Then through rehearsals we improvised the main incidents in Lola's life that we had chosen to dramatise, and I used a tape recorder to capture them. Then I went away and 'sculpted' what we had created into real scenes, which we re-worked on the floor, until finally we had what I called 'the first draft’ of the show. THOUGHT POINT A group improvises a short piece on the character of Lola Montez to show to a second group. The second group acts as Dramaturg and captures the text, directions and situation in writing enabling the piece to be re-created from these words only. Groups compare creative processes and swap roles, discussing their experience.
So my role has involved some writing, although I am also working with and including brilliant lines and ideas that the actors and Emily have contributed through the process. I feel as though I'm the head gardener, planting, pruning and shaping all the ideas - hopefully into a cohesive whole.
What did you find most interesting in Lola's story? I love her whole story, of course, and I find her so funny, and moving, and brilliant and inspiring. For me, it is imagining the things we don't know about her. There are lots of gaps. She writes a lot herself - but I'm more interested in what she has chosen not to write about, what she has chosen not to say. These things infuriate me while trying to shape the play - because I have to try and work it out for myself - but I can't stop thinking about all the possibilities. I find her death really poignant and moving - and her childhood.
Practical Exercises _____________________________________________________________________ Movement 1-2-3 In pairs, count up to 3 repeatedly; so partner A says ‘1’ , partner B says ‘2’, partner A says ‘3’, partner B says ‘1’, partner A says ‘2’ and so on…(or say ‘uno’, ‘dos’, ‘tres’ to be really Spanish!) Change ‘1’ to a clap… Change ‘2’ to a stamp… Change ‘3’ to a Flamenco position… Now change ‘1,2,3’ to 3 different expressive physical shapes… Share and teach another pair so each 4 people have 6 moves in common. Play with and create physical pieces with these movements set to music.
Clicks Pass a click around the circle. One click to catch and one click to pass it on. Try to keep the rhythm steady and if students can’t click ask them to make a vocal sound. Start to send the click across the circle and exaggerate the physicality of the throw and catch. Ask the group to repeat the same actions and refine them – you could establish a pattern so everyone gets the same number of turns. Keep the throw and catch going but move around the space, breaking up the circle. Give the instruction that everyone must be still apart from the person with the click and they have the freedom to move wherever they wish and hand over the click when they choose. Add in music. Once everyone has had a go, ask the person with the click to keep moving after handing it over, so one by one, all start to move again. Gesture The group worked with the idea of fire starting from the finger tips and then becoming larger and louder – exploring ways of clicking and clapping to express flames and sparks, then moving the fire around the space and interacting with others. They then refine the movement to one phrase that can be repeated – a signature. Then, facing out from a circle, look in an imaginary full length mirror, pick a character from the story and describe their hair, face, clothes, jewellery, footwear etc through gesture. They then choose three important features and refine the moves.
Gesture continued… When the movements are clear, the characters can take a walk around the space, decide on their most important feature and exaggerate it, find a walk, find a rhythm, find a sound, find a mantra, find a phrase, greet other people, dismiss other people, sit down, stand up, dance, and whatever else you want them to explore. Dance Create a dance by getting a group to do three different gestures in three different places. Gesture are 1,2 and 3 and places are A,B and C, then put together different combinations, A1, C2, B3 etc and the group will be dancing without knowing it! You can also use emotion within the gesture, for example Passion, Power, Deception and also the signature gesture from the previous exercise to link A B and C. _____________________________________________________________________ Devising Exaggeration…(a version of ‘Yes and…’) In a pair, start with a simple statement or headline or give them an object (possibly Spanish or something from the show). Begin telling a story and keep adding to it. To make the exercise more focused, the pairs could pretend to be reporters or salesmen etc. Each time the story must get exaggerated, a bit more fantastical, more glamorous and exciting. Encourage the storytellers to use their imaginations both through speaking and also physically. Encourage them also to play the different characters in the story, using their voices and their physicality imaginatively. Ask the audience what they liked, at what point did they lose belief in the story? Props In a circle pass round a fan or a suitable object/prop and make it be something unexpected…eg a moustache, a cigar, a tail, a book, a telescope etc. Place a fan (or two) in the middle of a circle, and get participants to enter and play with the fans. Rest of group have to guess who they are and what they are doing. (you can play this also as ‘freeze’) Give the participants some text (a poem, or nursery rhythm, or text from the play (see Appendix)) and get them to explore a few lines using movement and the fans as objects. Try these pieces accompanied by music. Tableaux In groups give the participants a headline and ask them to create the two sides of the story behind the headline in 5 tableaux. Emphasise that the links/bridges between the tableaux are very important and to include the storytelling, movement and Flamenco techniques covered so far. Showback with music. 26
Tableaux continuedâ€Ś And/or Establish the sections of the story and remind the group of the physicality they have used so far. Give the groups time to create a still image for each section of the story, remembering to use the movement languages they have learnt so far. Once they have created their still images get them to work out how to get from one to the next.
Ways to explore each image include: Bringing the still image to life with or without sound. Getting each person in the still image to speak their thoughts and words at that moment, or get the audience to give them a word. Finding the subtext of the image, twisting from the reality to the underside of the situation. Asking the group to enact the moment 10 seconds before the image and 10 seconds after the image and asking the audience to interpret the characters and their journeys. Placing props in the image and then asking the group to tell the story of each prop, giving the audience a glimpse of the history of the character. Adding in music and getting the group to bring one image to life and move it through to the next image, supported by the music. Giving the group instruments and working on the soundscape for a particular image. Creating text for an image - a conversation, dialogue, monologue. Setting a scene going and making it happen in slow motion. Picking a character and hot seating them, asking questions to which the character responds in role.
_____________________________________________________________________ Text How does the Dramaturg fuse the words with the physical action of the play? How does she keep up the momentum and flow of the piece, making sure the words do not slow down the action? Explore different ways of making transitions of character, time, and place through using text, music and physicality. (See Appendix for extracts from the script) _____________________________________________________________________ Creating Keep a note of all the discoveries and initially accept and compliment all reasonable ideas. As you go back over character studies, images, scenes, decide which are the best ideas and edit. Allocate an â€˜outside eyeâ€™ that person has to be trusted by the group to choose the best bits for a performance piece. Keep feeding back to the group what you are seeing and what they have told their audience so far. If they are going to go and create the rest of the story they need some strong starting points that they can hold onto and return to, such as a clear physicality and mantra for a character, images of the start and the end of a scene and the main dramatic moments within it. Keep defining the sections and giving them titles. Remember to keep playing - the best devising work comes out of playful creating and rigorous attention to detail.
THOUGHT POINT How would you express the history of Flamenco through dance and physical theatre?
History The roots of Flamenco can be traced back for centuries. Born from the expression of a persecuted people, most notably, the Gypsies of Southern Spain, its unique blend of influences and musical complexity can be attributed to the consequences of the decree made in Spain 1492 by Catholic Spanish King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella that everyone living under their domain should convert to Catholicism. This proclamation was issued under the threat of varying degrees of punishment, the most severe being the death penalty, by fire. Gypsies, Muslims, Jews and anyone living in Spain at the time was ordered to convert. It is believed that because of this decree these different ethnic groups came together to help each other, and within this melding of cultures Flamenco was born. Flamenco, in general, consists of three artistic elements: the singing (cante), the dance (baile) and the guitar (guitarra). In addition, there are often members of a Flamenco group playing "palmas" or hand-clapping. The relationship between the artists is similar to that of Jazz. There is a basic structure that one must follow, but at its heart, it is an improvised form. The singing is the centre of the Flamenco group. The dancer physically interprets the words and emotion of the singer through his or her movements, which include percussive footwork and intricate hand, arm and body movements. The guitarist provides the accompaniment to the singer and dancer, accentuating his or her vocal lines and/or melodies. Most scholars will agree that the birthplace of Flamenco is Jerez de la Frontera, a small city in Southern Spain. 29
Flamenco History continuedâ€Ś However, because of the nomadic nature of the Gypsies, who moved from town to town selling their wares and doing odd jobs, Flamenco quickly gained roots in several Andalucian towns, including Sevilla and Granada. Flamenco went through many phases in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the performance of the form by non-Gypsies. Ironically, this is what gave the form its legitimacy, as it was seen in theatres and cafes. It can also be said that it became commercial as well as quite successful, with the obvious negative implications that accompany this position. And although the Gypsies did not achieve respect and honour for their contribution to the art form until many years later, they have always been considered the best interpreters of the Flamenco arts.
THE MUSIC Ricardo Garcia is a renowned Flamenco guitarist and composer. His relationship with Trestle started during the International Workshop Residency, where he would accompany many of the exercises and improvisations the participants undertook. His ability for improvisation, his sense of playfulness, and his inherent understanding of dramatic tension enabled the performers to reach heights they would rarely have thought possible. His thorough knowledge of Flamenco, and especially of itsâ€™ complex rhythm patterns, also enabled the participants to fasttrack their learning and understanding, making the development of movement and ideas richer and more comprehensive. During the rehearsal period, Ricardo would accompany, improvise, and create alongside the actors, becoming an integral part of the storytelling process.
An interview with Ricardo Garcia, musician and composer
What are the origins of Flamenco music? Flamenco originates from the South of Spain, in a region called AndalucĂa. It has, as a region, seen many different cultural influences, with a variety of people from different origins living there. 31
Ricardo Garcia continued… I would say Flamenco, from its roots, is a fusion of various elements from these different cultures. There are roots from the North of Africa, and roots from North Indian gypsies in Rajasthan. There is also a lot of Mediterranean influence as well due to its position, and also Byzantine, Greek, and Jewish influences. I think Flamenco is absolutely a fusion that has developed alongside folklore and folk rhythms, and alongside its’ major influences which are traditional Spanish stories, rhythms, and pastimes. Do you think there are obvious influences of those separate cultures within the music? Yes, definitely. There have been studies about it. If you listen to the music from the different places you can hear the links in the music through certain structures, certain melodies. In Flamenco singing, which came before the dance and the guitar, you can hear that it is quite oriental. There are ‘Melismas’, where the type of vocal is very Indian sounding. Many people who don’t know about Flamenco often think it sounds Arabic when they first hear it. Do any of the dances come from specific stories or is it simply a dance and a melody? It is quite difficult to know because in most cases the origin is very hard to pinpoint. Even the word ‘Flamenco’, we don’t know what it actually means or where it comes from! There are various different theories. One is that it derives from ‘fela mengu’ which means ‘a country person escaping’ in Arabic. Or, ‘Flamenco’ in Spanish also means ‘Flemish people’. In the reign of King Charles V there were strong links between Spain, and Austria and Belgium, and it is thought that the name could have derived from this time. We do know that the Tarantos are from the eastern coastal part of Andalucia, and their origin is from the miners there. Their style was very dramatic, and their stories dealt with the hardship of working in the mine. People never see the daylight because they go to work in the dark and leave in the dark. The sound is very dramatic. Even the music is originally played in an f sharp chord which sounds dissonant, distorted and pretty harsh, to reflect these people’s lives. THOUGHT POINT How do the elements of Flamenco reflect those of Lola’s life?
Sevillana, in contrast, is a dance style, which is danced a lot round Easter time. It is very different, very joyous, happy, light. Alegrias from Cadis province are also very happy. Soleares is linked to the phrase ‘sole dad’ which means ‘being alone’, so this is much more sombre and you only have one dancer. A style which is very linked to gypsy influence, is the Seguiriya. 32
Ricardo Garcia continued… So, there are a lot of different roots, influences, and meanings behind things but it’s very difficult to know exactly where it all comes from because it is so ancient. It is an aural tradition so nothing is written down. How has Flamenco evolved and become contemporary? Flamenco now, and in the last 30 years, is and has been absorbing new influences and modernising through the new culture of world music. It has been developed by certain musicians who have started to bring in blues and jazz chords, Bossanova, Indian, African, Arabic rhythm structures. All sorts of different instruments, which weren’t used before, are now being used, such as electric instruments. But this is not surprising because in its own background it was already a fusion. Flamenco by its nature is not a fixed thing; we have structures and we improvise around them. I think it is natural that now we are moving towards a Flamenco which is using elements from other types of music. Flamenco has always developed through various periods of history. During the years of dictatorship in Spain, Franco banned a lot of things and during the period of him winning the civil war in 1935 until his death in 1975, real Flamenco went underground. The thing which was called ‘Flamenco’ in this time wasn’t Flamenco as we know it. It was called ‘Flamenco Opera’, but it wasn’t opera either, it was just nicely sounding songs without the depth and rawness and passion of real Flamenco, because people were scared of expressing themselves socially or culturally. In 1975 there was a big revival of the traditional form. I’m sure it never died, but it did go very underground, kept alive mostly by gypsy people. But now, in the last 30-40 years, it has been very popular again. Flamenco is alive. It is like Jazz or Blues. It isn’t stuck. It keeps moving and changing and taking on new elements like using new instruments, using different patterns, using bluesy, jazzy chords, and always fusing elements from other cultures. What has been your approach and experience working with a theatre company, and how is it different to your usual approach? I normally work either with pure music or just music and Flamenco dance. The added elements of drama and story are very different for me. I think it is interesting because it is a new way of working. On one hand it is quite difficult and I’m not used to it, but at the same time I’m quite used to accompanying people. I don’t just play Flamenco music, I also play a lot of other types. I like Jazz, I like Blues, Classical, Indian, African, so I am used to mixing things up. Also, particularly in Flamenco, you have to know how to accompany a singer, or the dancers; to be spontaneously ready to do that because they all have their different ways of doing things. 33
Ricardo Garcia continuedâ€Ś You start from the point of structure, which we all know, then improvise around what they do. You use different styles as it moves and how it finishes. Because of that I am interested in this idea of following what happens in the moment. The actual spontaneous creation of putting actors and a musician together and see where it takes you is very exciting. I find it very interesting as an approach. I think I can learn a lot from the actors.
THOUGHT POINT Experiment performing the same piece accompanied by different rhythms. How does the piece change? How to the performers feel?
THOUGHT POINT Feel the rhythm of your own heart and create a movement that follows this rhythm. Explore group synchronisation
This is a difficult-to-define phrase used in the Spanish arts, particularly the performing arts. From the original meaning (a fairy or goblin like creature in Spanish and Latin American mythology), the artistic, and especially musical, term was derived. The meaning of Duende as in tener Duende (having Duende) is a rarely explained concept in Spanish art, particularly Flamenco, having to do with emotion, expression and authenticity. In fact, tener Duende can be loosely translated as having soul. Increpazion Danza choreographer Ramon Baeza, explained Duende during the Residency as the feeling of ‘Look at me…I am the best’. If Flamenco is normally associated with the sensual movement of feet and arms, then Duende can be seen as the beating heart. ‘The essence of Flamenco is sensual, Flamenco is an artistic expression of an intense awareness of the existential human condition’. Charles H Keyser, Jr 1993
THOUGHT POINT What is your own definition of Duende? Consider the characterisation and personification of Duende. How does Lola 35 personify Duende?
DUENDE continued... The great Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca wrote about this “earth spirit” in an intriguing lecture, “Play and the Theory of Duende,” in 1933 (see Useful Links) When Lorca wrote about the Duende, he also wrote about the muse, and another source of inspiration many artists mention, the angel. Duende is internal, Lorca said, while the muse and the angel are external. He wrote that “The muse and angel come from outside us: the angel gives lights, and the muse gives forms. Loaf of gold or tunic fold: the poet receives norms in his grove of laurel. But one must awaken the Duende in the remotest mansions of the blood.” Lorca described the Duende as “the pain which has no explanation...the bitter root of human existence...that wound, which never closes.” IN SEARCH OF DUENDE, from where the lecture originates, includes an excellent introduction, written by Christopher Maurer. He summarizes the origins of the Duende, and its elements, succinctly: “The notion of Duende (from duen de casa, ‘master of the house’) came to him from popular Spanish culture, where the Duende is a playful hobgoblin, a household spirit fond of hiding things, breaking plates, causing noise, and making a general nuisance of himself. But Lorca was aware of another popular usage of the term. In Andalusia people say of certain toreros and Flamenco artists that they have Duende—an inexplicable power of attraction, the ability, on rare occasions, to send waves of emotion through those watching and listening to them. It is this aspect of Duende which the poet demonstrates, and elaborates upon, in his lecture. At least four elements can be isolated in his vision of Duende: irrationality, earthiness, a heightened awareness of death, and a dash of the diabolical. The Duende is a demonic earth spirit who helps the artist see the limitations of intelligence, reminding him that that ‘ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head’; who brings him face-to-face with death; and who helps him create and communicate memorable, spine-chilling art.” THOUGHT POINT Consider Maurier’s notion of Duende. Create a piece of movement following an element of Lola’s journey that includes: ●irrationality ●earthiness ●heightened awareness of death ●a dash of the diabolical.
“The Duende, then, is a power, not a work,” wrote Lorca. “It is a struggle, not a thought. I heard an old maestro of the guitar say, ‘The Duende is not in the throat; the Duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning this: it is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation.” 36
PRACTICAL EXERCISES _____________________________________________________________________
Explain the nature of ‘Duende’, A mantra in your head of, “I am the best” and “Look at me” - the attitude and spirit of Flamenco.
Grandmothers Footsteps Establish the basic rules first: there is a grandmother at one end of the room who has her back to participants. They must creep up on her and touch her on the shoulder. However, whenever she turns round they must freeze, and if she sees them moving, they are sent back to the start. Then the participants must be Flamenco dancers…they must move towards the grandma clapping and stamping, moving arms and hands, and when they freeze it must be as a photo with Duende!
Photo! Photo! In a circle get participants to pass round a Flamenco pose as if having a photo taken i.e one does a pose and shows it to the next, they take this image into their bodies, turn to their neighbour and do another, they take this, turn and do another etc… See how fast you can make this. Play with different rhythms eg taking the image from someone slowly and passing it on quickly. Play also with how much one has to do physically, so that the expression is sometimes internalised, so in fact they are passing round an attitude, a cocked eyebrow, a small hand gesture etc. Now try across the circle rather than just to the side, eye contact and focus being crucial.
Duende on the Move Walk in space and when you meet someone strike a pose (maybe creating 5 poses) Do your 5 poses to a piece of music (or to the group clapping), making the poses on the stresses of the rhythm. In groups create a sequence of 5 poses that all in the group learn, then travel in the space with the poses to a 12 beat rhythm.
An Interview with choreographer Ramon Baeza
When you were told of the story of Lola Montez by Emily Gray were you excited by the story? I had never heard of this Lola Montez before – she is a very interesting character – she is a bit like Carmen, a woman who creates her own character and invents herself. I was very excited to find out about her. Was it difficult to choreograph the fiery emotions Lola expresses on stage? Montse and I came to work with Trestle in a general way at first for a one week workshop – we were looking at how our dance style could be used in a theatre context – it was very different for us to be working with non dancers but we were all exploring with the spirit of Lola Montez. The actors in the group had to believe they could be Spanish dancers and the dancers in the group had to act. By entering into the spirit of Lola anything becomes possible – Lola believed in her persona totally and carried it off. We also met and worked with Flamenco guitarist Ricardo Garcia during this week and he brought the musical and rhythmic world of Lola to life. What did you have to do to get into the spirit of Lola? The spirit of Lola is the spirit of Flamenco – she must have had fire and passion as a performer and although she would not have learnt the steps of Spanish dance, she must have felt the Duende – people across the world believed she was a Spanish dancer! Do you think you managed to capture the spirit of Lola? How hard, or easy, was this to do? Yes, yes, yes – we are working with this wonderful English actress, Georgina Roberts – she looks Spanish, she feels Spanish when she performs – she like Lola, came to Spain for a short time to learn Flamenco and has made her own version – full of spirit. THOUGHT POINT How would you go about choosing performers for a show? Consider appearance, specialist expertise and knowledge. 38
Ramon Baeza continued… How long did it take to finish the choreography? After the week we spent with Trestle sharing some Increpación choreographies, a dance with a fan, a dance with a manton, arms and rhythms, Montse and I returned to UK to work with Georgina for just three days on specific pieces for Lola to dance. We were working with the inspirational music that Ricardo Garcia had composed for the show; we gave many ideas for the production and then left Trestle to make the show. Did you work with the dancer to create the movements? Or were the movements created in isolation between you and Montse, then the steps taught to the dancer? All our work comes out of improvisation with dancers, or in this case, actors. We give ideas but then the performers make the material. Could you describe the typical movements you created for Lola? The Flamenco arms, foot placement and basic rhythms, but we thought about the nineteenth century movements which are closer to classical Spanish dance than Flamenco so we taught Sevillianas too, for example. Did you make any new discoveries about Lola Montez while you worked on this production? Lola was new to me, as I said, but I discovered she is a myth – she is dramatic like Carmen, but unlike Carmen who dies, Lola is a winner – a strong woman creating herself and winning through and becoming a myth. Did working on the production of Lola inform new perspectives on Flamenco dance? It must have been a very intense journey. Working with actors has been very exciting, very different – seeing how they use the dance movements in such an imaginative way. The actors at Trestle have found such wonderful comedy in the movements and used our style in a different way, with story and text – this is new for us.
Practical Exercises - Rhythm Flamenco rhythm is made up of 12 beats. There are many variations of the 12beat pattern which are played with by singer, dancer and musician alike during performance. The patterns are transformed by emphasisng different beats within the 12 with stamps, claps, by using casstanettes, voice, or with guitar. For the purposes of our learning, we used 3 different patterns. Basic pattern: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Variation 1: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Variation 2: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Exercise Practise clapping out the rythms in a circle, with the emphasis being a louder clap. Repeat the patterns a few times each to get a sense of the rhythm. Add a foot stamp to the emphasised claps. Now split from the circle and while the group is moving in space, try to clap out the rythms, including the stamps. Finally, try to walk in the space to the rythms without the claps. See how easy or difficult it is to move from one variation to the next.
Feet The â€˜zapateadoâ€™ is one of the essential components of Flamenco, and a widley recognised element by novice and experienced alike. The feet are used to stamp, or strike the floor in 3 different ways to create a rythmic combination of different sounds and moods. They can be mixed and matched accordingly. Firstly, there is the toe stamp with the ball of the foot Secondly, there is the stamp with the plant of the foot Thirdly, there is the stamp with the heel of the foot
Exercise Firstly, on the spot, practise the three different styles of foot stamping. Next, vary the stamps between all three styles playing with the different moods and sounds this creates, for example: (L) toe-heel (R) toe-heel (repeat) (L) toe-toe-heel (R) toe-toe-heel (repeat) (L) toe (R) toe (L) plant (R) plant (repeat) Create different and interesting patterns in pairs, combining the rythms learnt.
Arms and Hands The movement of the arms and hands is the other highly recognisable feature of Flamenco. The arms are held up high, above the head, and in a rounded shape, so that the elbows are not visible. They can move down and to the side in graceful motion. They can move simultaneously similar to the movement of a snake. At the same time as the arm movements are being executed, the hands can be turned inwards and outwards. This movement will have to follow the music, and must be done in a way that does not make the hands look like grinders that have spun out of control. The movement of the hands originates from the wrist, with the fingers furling and unfurling as they turn.
For examples of the work of Increpacion Danza and their repertoire of Flamenco and contemporary dance fusion go to: http://www.increpacion.com/index.php?option=com_content& task=view&id=13&Itemid=29&lang=english
THEMES: Celebrity! “POSH SUES OVER DIET PILL CLAIM” OK MAGAZINE “HILTON’S BOOBS MAKE COMEBACK” HELLO MAGAZINE Lola Montez blazed a trail for female celebrities, without whom the likes of Madonna, Posh Spice, and Jordan would never have seen the front of a ‘Hello!’ cover. She was, at a certain time in her life, the most famous female on the planet, a self-publicist extraordinaire, and a magnet for the gossip columns of the day. “HE TREATED ME LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT” – Sexsational Pictures inside DAILY STAR Her rise to fame, her hunger for it, and her subsequent demise and death have startling parallels to today’s society where our curiosity and fascination with fame and celebrity fuels the constant merry-go-round of crash and burn culture. “FRUMPY KATE THORNTON DITCHES HER GLAM IMAGE BY STEPPING OUT WITHOUT A SCRAP OF MAKE-UP ON” DAILY MAIL Trestle’s production of ‘Lola’ examines these ideas, and provokes questions that are relevant to young people today. It focuses on the contradiction of private and public personas, and on the apparent thirst for celebrity and fame that is reflected in magazines, newspapers, advertising, and reality TV. It asks what the price of this fame is, and what is the cost to the individual and to society? “I WILL BE SEXY AGAIN SOON”: SIZE 16 ULRIKA VOWS TO SLIM DOWN AFTER FOURTH CHILD DAILY MAIL “BRITNEY SPEARS’ SHOCKING FROCK MAKES HER LOOK MORE LIKE A LIBRARIAN THAN A SEXY POP STAR” SUNDAY MIRROR
THOUGHT POINT Celebrity motivation and focus. In four groups improvise the same story exploring the life of a famous or imaginary celebrity. Each group should perform their piece with the following focus ‘I ‘I ‘I ‘I
must be known’ must make money’ must loose weight’ must be happy’
Compare the pieces. Are there obvious differences? Which was most difficult? 42
Celebrity continued… THOUGHT POINT How many public faces do we have? Think of the last 3 different people with whom you have spoken today. Parent? Bus Driver? Friend? Were there differences in your approach with each? What were they? How does your relationship with each person affect the way you communicate? How much does a person need to know about you – how much of yourself do you want to show?
Georgina Roberts (Lola) reflects on the themes of the play: What do you see as the significant parallels between Lola’s life and life for celebrities today? Lola was really the first kind of celebrity. She gave the first press conference. She had more written about her than the President of the United States of the time. Lola today would be on the front of all ‘Hello!’, ‘OK’ and ‘Heat’ magazines. She wrote a "beauty tips book" which includes the use of dumbbells! Today I am sure would have made her own fitness DVD.
THOUGHT POINT What do you invest into relationships and communication? Why are we interested in living our lives in the same way as celebrities? What intrigues about them?
Celebrity continued… From the point of view of why someone is determined to become a celebrity, today people need their five minutes of fame, the easy route to fortune, but actually I think it is all in the word "celebrity". To be celebrated, one wants to be acknowledged for existing, for being and when acknowledged you feel alive. But one has to keep changing, otherwise you will be forgotten. I suppose the public, your audience, are like the reflection in a large mirror and when they don't care any more and turn away you have no reflection, you are faceless. Lola really could be likened to Madonna. I mean how many times have we seen Madonna reinvent her image? She has continued to fascinate us for 25 years or more!
THOUGHT POINT Current television culture suggests an obsession with voyeurism and living through others. Create an improvisation influenced by this culture. Did you find depth to your characters? Was there an inclination towards melodrama or characature?
Eva Peron is another to whom you could draw similarities. A woman and a dancer who becomes politically enlivened, causes revolutions, and in her eyes for the good of the people. There are cynics out there who I am sure would see it as purely for the good of the ladies in question! Another similarity which really struck me is Jordan who has recently had another book out called "Pushing Jordan to the limit". In it she talks of Jordan as someone other than herself. I was amazed as that is exactly what Lola Montez had done. She wrote her autobiography as though she knew of Lola but wasn't in fact her! What a genius way to keep the public interested! You may not have heard of Lola Montez, but you have certainly heard the songs ‘Lola wants, Lola gets’, ‘Her name was Lola she was a show girl’, ‘Lola Lolita’. As with any true celebrity, they prove their fame in terms of leaving their legacy. Lola has certainly done that!
PRACTICAL EXERCISES _____________________________________________________________________ Chinese Whispers Start with a simple statement or headline and pass round the circle in a whisper. See what the end result is and how close it is to the original. Pass it both ways around the circle starting at the same time. See how the two results differ. Whose story is true? In groups of about 5, each come up with a story from their own lives. One member of the group, however, will come up with a made up story. Present all stories to the group and see if they can tell which one is the lie. Alternatively, all tell the same story and ask audience to guess whose story it really is. Different Faces Think of a time when you have had to present yourself in different ways: your public and your private face. How did you achieve this? How did it make you feel? What effect did it have on the people around you? Show through movement, tableau and gesture the journey from private to public, from anonymity to fame, from the real persona to the fabricated persona.
PRACTICAL EXERCISES continued… Celebrity Today! Talk about Lola, and the relevance and parallels to her story to today; the nature of celebrity, public/private personas, the price and cost of fame. Why would someone want to be a celebrity? At what point and how do they switch off? Why is our culture so thirsty for fame? List the top ten attributes needed to become a celebrity. Celebrity News! Following the ideas that come up from this discussion, create a modern day celebrity to rival all celebrities. Who are they? What do they do? How did they become famous? Create a celebrity magazine article about them in the style of ‘Heat’ or ‘Hello! Create a significant news article about them; their marriage, birth/adoption of a child, early death…How is it reported? What is the truth? How is it sensationalised?
THEMES: The Role of Women in Society Lola Montez broke many boundaries of perceived behaviour for a woman in the 1800’s. She did not fit into any pre-conceived role, but rather changed her role depending on the situation she found herself in, the country she travelled to, or the man she was with. Within her life she was in turns the abandoned child, the outrageous teenager, the ambitious actress, the professional dancer, the highclass prostitute, femme fatale, seducer, mistress, adulterer, but also the lonely traveller, the passionate fighter, animal and child lover, distraught partner, politician, converted Christian and successful lecturer.
THOUGHT POINT Can you think of any men with stories that compare with Lola? Would the play have been different if Lola had been a man? Would we have the same relationship with the character?
Throughout the years since Lola’s life, the roles of women in society have radically changed in many societies, but not all. Equality in many ways may seem to have been achieved, although the notion of equality is not as clear cut as it once was and for some there is still much to fight for. It is due to the life and work of Lola Montez and of women like her that the roles of women have been able to change so radically.
THOUGHT POINT What is feminism? Look at the development of feminism and the definition of ‘equality’ throughout history – has it changed?
Lola’s performances would today have been seen as postmodern theatre. She challenged the audiences’ expectations; she played with semiotics by using fake spiders and not hiding these artificial props from them.
The Role of Women in Society continued… She turned disasters into triumphs, mistakes into entertaining events, always for her own benefit. She would often finish her performances by stomping on the men’s hats that had been thrown onto the stage. She was also one of the first women to ever be photographed smoking.
THOUGHT POINT We don’t consider it unusual to be photographed smoking today. Discuss other elements of Lola’s behaviour would have been out-of-the-ordinary for the 19th century. THOUGHT POINT Compare the life and work of Lola to the following influential women in the public eye – how do their lives compare? ●Emmeline Pankhurst ●Germaine Greer ●Madonna ●Margaret Thatcher ●Jane Austen ●Marylyn Monroe ●Princess Diana ●Cleopatra ●
THOUGHT POINT Compare restrictions inflicted upon women in the 19th century as compared to position of women in 21st century? Consider… Jobs that can legally only be done by men Comparable salaries - less for women in the same positions as men in 2008 Dressing and clothes etiquette – change in style reflecting status Language and deportment Parental responsibility and family values Justice system – attitude towards same crime committed by a man as by a woman
USEFUL LINKS Trestle http://www.trestle.org.uk/ Increpacion Danza http://www.increpacion.com/ Ricardo Garcia http://www.Flamencoflow.com/index.html Flamenco Information http://www.andalucia.com/Flamenco/ Flamenco Videos http://uk.youtube.com/results?search_query=Flamenco+dance&search_type=&aq =1&oq=Flamenco Lola Montez http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lola_Montez http://www.abacom.com/~jkrause/montez.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/01/2007_01_fri.shtml Lola Montez Autobiography http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&id=QerTWqCUxhcC&dq=Lola+Montez&pr intsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=daivpW3TSz&sig=4DCIDSvWngW0V9aTUV4j GaVXBGI&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result#PPA12,M1 Lola Montez Images http://images.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=Lola%20Montez&um=1&ie=UTF8&sa=N&tab=wi Miriam Follin http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1975/6/1975_6_42.sht ml Lorcaâ€™s lecture: Theory and Play of Duende http://www.tonykline.co.uk/PITBR/Spanish/LorcaDuende.htm
APPENDIX Extracts from the script - Dresden Minnie introduces Lola in Dresden but we can make something of the fact that from here she’s not really sure what’s going on and what’s going to happen when Minnie
Mein dame und heren… Wilkommen auf Dresden! Ich presentiert Lola Montez
But Lola doesn’t come – she is changing Ist du vertig? But Lola isn’t ready! Aber erste, ich bin Minnie Montez! Eine tanzer von Ireland! Despite herself Minnie really gets into this performance Lola
Ah – the stage Minnie, so hard to resist its temptations
Minnie has a bit of a huff Lola
She writes casanova’s memoirs with her body! She came, she saw, she conquered!
Be good to introduce Spider here from Lola’s perspective? She’s as graceful and deadly as the spider! - Berlin The rail is spun which brings us to Berlin. Lola enters through the rail Lola
Wilkommen Berlin! Wie gehts?
She dances with a whip Marching music – fandango begins with dance ends with 3 false starts then ends together with lola Minnie makes the sound of a horse - Guitar picks up sound of lolas horse 50
Extracts from the script continued… Lola
What is that perfume? The smell of royalty.
Make room for Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm IV and Czar Nicholas Ist of Russia!
So watch how this spider traps the flies!
The Gendarme leaps through, takes hold of the horse, and uses the rail as a barrier to stop Lola getting any nearer the Royalty. Lola
No toques Mi Caballo! How dare you touch the reins! How dare you hit my horse! They have souls too you know!
Lola horsewhips the gendarme He yowls in pain – goes back through the rail. And she is summoned to court over the rail. Gendarme
I have here a court summons for Lola Montez.
You horsewhipped a Prussian officer!
I didn’t horsewhip an officer, I horsewhipped an ASS!
Shows contempt / rips it up Gendarme
Another summons! - For contempt of court!
I care naught for your summons to court Stuff it up your culo!
Poland Music – vaudeville travelling music going into March when she starts dance
This may begin with a guitar solo to cover costume changes. The rail moves to the trunk for the audience and so Lola need not move. Lola does a military style dance with the stick. (We need to find a way to establish they are in Warsaw)
Extracts from the script continued… Abramowicz
(appears over rail as if in Royal box) I don’t think she’s anything special! I have seen my dog on its hind legs dance better than she does.
You want to see my hind legs? Mira! Showing her bum
March music ends Abramowicz
How dare you – I am the master here?
And I am the mistress!
Get off the stage. Get rid of her!
Whacking with the stick- music final forceful march To lower orders
Would you like to see it again?
Absolutely not. We don’t want to see it do we Wojeck?
Actually I’d love to.
Peasant woman hits him. Peasant woman
Ssh. The police are here!
You come a step closer… And I swear as my name is Lola Montez I will kill you on the spot. So, anyone care to taste the edge of my punal? People of Poland! See here, a feeble woman, who is victimised, and who has to defend herself! I like you have been oppressed -
I lay down my dagger –
Tak. Tak. 52
Extracts from the script continued… Lola
And I place my personal security and my life under the protection of my audience the citizens of Warsaw! For we must all fight for liberty!
A rousing polish national anthem with musical accompaniment – I think we should work to make this a real climax marking the end of the tour The peasant woman and Lola march together People of Poland We stand together, etc. Lola collapses onto the rail absolutely exhausted…. Whenever this happens in the play her spider returns. Lola
Alas! Poor Poland. It is sad to think of so gallant and so brave a people, broken up…. And sssscattered to the ends of the earth
First time we see her real frailty/ vulnerability… she’s clearly ill… the energy changes completely… Minnie goes to her but is pushed away Minnie
By now, Lola’s notorious in Europe But she’s also exhausted And some say she’s -
Lola doesn’t want her to go there Lola
She’s… searching above all - for love.
Liszt music begins Minnie puts on the coat and goes to the trunk Lola
Is that you Franz? Liszt? I must compose myself…
Liszt plays the piano on the trunk and Lola moves the rail towards him. Liszt starts by playing sitting on the trunk, but then it is turned on its side. Music build up to concert as she rises onto the trunk 53
Extracts from the script continued… Lola
Franz, my darling Imagine our artistic paths entwined! Finger to finger Touch to touch Genius knows genius The things we could create!
She puts on the castanets. It’s slightly distracting. She says sorry. Lola practises castanets It irritates Liszt Liszt gets rid of Lola with both arms – music stops She carries on They argue She carries on “So I am just a satellite going round and around you” He stops her Liszt music back in more aggressive / fighting her It ends with Lola being shut into the trunk and shouting to be let out. Liszt
I shall pay for the damages. She will wreck the room.
Let me out! Open the door! Liszt! Let me out! Minnie? Minnie! Minnie!
Minnie lets her out as Dujarier? Dujarier
Somehow get into music and Lola Manton dance in Paris Dujarier
Approchez vous? (Would you like a drink?)
Je m’appelle 54
Extracts from the script continued… Dujarier
- Lola Montez. Enchante.
Comment vous appellez vous?
- Dujarier. Vous etes journaliste. Le journal La Presse.
The journalist c’est un animal.
Mais quelle animal etes vous? Un paroquet?
Tres bien, a parrot repeats, mais le journalist tricks, so vous etes …a monkey, une singe –
(shrugs) But I have no keeper.
Non? - Quel dommage. Mais le journalist… twists… like un serpent.
Pass me your handkerchief (in French?)
What are you doing?
Killing this wiper!
Lola Don’t kill my wiper. Treasure it. He takes her handkerchief Dujarier
Come shooting with me.
(laughing) Why should a woman be shooting pistols?
To defend myself againssssssst - your poisoned pen. 55
Extracts from the script continued… At the shooting range. Lola covers her ears with castanets Lola
You should have brought something, you know, to protect your ears.
Dujarier holds Lola’s headphones
You are perfect Continually new, continually changing, a true poet Marry me.
She shoots again Dujarier
Cover my eyes.
Mon dieu! Give me a try.
Of course – you’re a peacock!
She throws him the gun Lola
Sorry did I hit you with my foot? Don’t worry it was perfectly leg-al.
She charms him Un, deux, trois. No, le point, le point, c’est la He shoots Oh la la. You’re a terrible shot. But my answer’s yes.
So you married him then!
Extracts from the script continued… Lola
To keep a man you make fun… even of serious things… Show that your heart is light And grief, a stranger You know these places where men go alone. Where they play billiards Drink, gamble, argue? So one night he makes a stupid remark And the next day how he wishes He hadn’t said this thing But he’s too proud to take it back My dear Lola: I’m sorry I did not come to see you this morning. I have need of all my calmness. At two o’clock all, all will be over.
Dujarier acts out being killed in a duel Lola is delivered the body
Useful text for devising movement The Owl and the Pussycat By Edward Lear The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, "O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are, What a beautiful Pussy you are." Pussy said to the Owl "You elegant fowl, How charmingly sweet you sing. O let us be married, too long we have tarried; But what shall we do for a ring?" They sailed away, for a year and a day, To the land where the Bong-tree grows, And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose, With a ring at the end of his nose. "Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will" So they took it away, and were married next day By the Turkey who lives on the hill. They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon. And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand. They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon, They danced by the light of the moon.
Useful text for devising movement Full Moon By Federico Garcia Lorca When the moon comes out The bells get lost And the paths we canâ€™t cross Come in sight. When the moon comes out Ocean covers the earth And heart feels like Infinityâ€™s island. Moon more distant Than the sun and stars. Is perfume and memory, Faded blue bubble. Half Moon By Federico Garcia Lorca Moon goes through the water. How peaceable the sky is! Slowly going gathering Old tremors from the river While a young frog takes her For a tiny mirror Landscape By Federico Garcia Lorca By mistake the evening Had dressed in cold. Through the mist on the panes All the children Watch a yellow tree Change into birds. Evening is stretched out All down the river. And the flush of an apple Shivers over tile roofs.
Useful text for devising movement Lola: Ladies and Gentlemen, Throughout my life I have often thought - if only there were a key, which, when it were possessed, explained the complexity of our natures… And though I’ve travelled the world, and am about as well acquainted with that “eccentric” individual as any lady in this country, of course I cannot promise tonight to explain the puzzle that is Lola Montez! - I have not yet guessed that riddle myself. They have called her ‘the best abused woman in the world’ and she has caused more newspaper paragraphs, and more biographies to be written than any woman living. I myself have read some of these laughable works, and let me assure you, her mother was not a Scottish washer-woman. – she was an Irish washer-woman, who married a soldier and moved with him to India. And she was young, ambitious! - beautiful. But by eighteen she had a baby. And this little girl…she grew up too fast, and asked too many questions. So she was sent away to England. Perhaps if the little girl’s Father had survived the cholera epidemic in Dinapore things would have been different – we’ll never know. Who is Lola Montez? Well she’s Irish. She’s Indian. English. Spanish, Bavarian, Polish… American. She is all these places. She is the nineteenth century. She is the first woman to smoke in a photograph. The lover of a King, an actress… a courtesan. A spider dancer. She was rich, and she was destitute. She was a muse and scapegoat, a portrait and a politician. She was a woman. She was the most famous woman in the world. Thank you very much.
Flamenco Glossary A Aficionado: a connoisseur, fan, non-professional performer. Alegrías: joy or happiness, a popular song/dance form in 12/8 time. Andalucía: the region that occupies the south of Spain; made up of eight provinces. Flamenco is primarily an Andalucian phenomenon.
B Bailaor: a male/female Flamenco dancer. Baile: dance. Brazos: arms. Bulerías: song and dance-form in 6/8 time, most difficult and improvisational of the Flamenco styles.
C Cajon: percussive instrument similar to an empty wooden box. Caló: language of the Spanish Gypsies. Cambio: change – refers to a change in footwork or arm exercises; can also refer to a change in a musical melodic pattern. Cantaor: a Flamenco singer. Cante: song – song form. Chico: light style of Flamenco song. Jondo: deep and solemn style of Flamenco song. Castañuelas: castanets. Colombianas: Flamenco style believed to have been influenced by South American rhythms. Compás: 1. metre, the rhythmic feel of a song or dance form 2. time-signature. 3. tempo 4. rhythm 5. to be in sympathy with what is happening with the other members of a group. Contra-tiempo: 1. counter-rhythm, 2. in music, the eighth note. 3. the up-beat. Copla: the set melodic pattern of a song. Cuadro: Flamenco: a unit of Flamenco singers, dancers and guitarists D Desplante: portion of a dance and the accompanying music marking the end of a phrase with heel-work Duende: soul or spirit.
E Escobilla: 1. a dance step which resembles the sweeping motion of a broom, 2. a long section of footwork. 61
F Fandango: a popular song and dance form related to Sevillanas. Spanish folk dance of Andalucia, 3/4 time. Farruca: Flamenco dance form in 4/4 time – from Galicia Fuerte: strong, hard
G Gitano: a Gypsy Golpe: 1. related to footwork – full sole of the foot striking the floor. 2. rhythmic accentuation (guitar). Guajiras: Flamenco-influenced song from Cuba – danced in 6/8, 12/8 time. J Jaleo: Juerga:
shouts of encouragement, ‘olé!’ being the most common. a Flamenco jam session or private party.
L Letra: Llamada: variation.
the lyrics of a song/verse a dance step to advise the guitarist of a change in a dancer’s
M Malgueñas: a free-form Flamenco style from Malaga. Descendent of the Fandango family. Manton: embroidered silk shawl with long fringes. First known as ‘Manton de Manila’ from its origins in Manila. P Palmas: rhythmic hand clapping. (Sordas = muted. Claras, abiertas, altas = clear, open, high.) Palmeros: men that clap while the musicians play Paseo: promenade, a dance step resembling walking; also the opening walk or entrance of bullfighters into the arena. Payo: Spaniard, non-Gypsy. Pié: foot. Pitos: finger snapping. Planta: ball of foot (plant). Polo: Flamenco song derived from the Soleares family
vocal style portraying a lament or cry
R Rasgueado: strumming techniques on the guitar. Remate: the end of a phrase Roma: Romany Gypsy roots. S Salida: an introductory portion of a song or dance – in song also referred to as temple or entrada. Sevillanas: a lively and cheerful Spanish folk song and dance form in 3/4 time; from Sevilla Soleares: a form of cante jondo, from the word soledad: solitude, privacy. It expresses deep sadness and loneliness, danced in 12/8 time.
T a stage or café where Flamenco is performed (cabaret). Tablao: Tacón: heel of shoe. Tangos: Flamenco song and dance in 2/4 and 4/4 time. Tanguillo: Flamenco song and dance derived from the tango. Tarantas: free-form vocal style. Tarantos: related to the Tarantas in key, this form is danced, in 2/4 time. Tientos: a slow form of tangos, done in 2/4, 4/4 time. Tocaor: Flamenco guitarist. Tonás: the earliest-known of song forms. Toque: guitar playing. Toque libre: guitar playing with free form rhythm. Tremolo: a rapid fluttering of a guitar tone or alternating tones
V Vuelta: turn. Vuelta por delante: to the front. Vuelta por detras: to the back or behind
Z Zapateado: footwork, also the name of a dance. Zapatos: shoes © Trestle Theatre Company, September 2008
Published on Apr 1, 2012
PLAYING WITH FIRE Trestle are offering an education workshop to accompany Lola; the life of Lola Montez. This two hour workshop will reflect...