A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE
A FILMIC STUDY ON THE NATURE OF GRIEF
THE SOLO SCHOOL:
Is designed to offer individual artists a way into their creative worlds to develop a unique approach into the rich territory of working alone. Venturing into an ever-developing excavation of expression, THE SOLO SCHOOL is facilitated by Henry McGrath, who has been devoted to the investigation of personal practice for 11 years.
Henry is an actor, director and physical performance artist who has worked within a wide-web of performance worlds, from collaborating with experimental avant-garde theatre groups to working in mainstream TV and film. He is the founder and co-director of EDEN'S CAVE, a laboratory theatre group based in the Forest of Dean described as "an exciting and ground-breaking company with a holistic world vision". He is a solo filmmaker, making work about the essential human experience, teaches acting, approaches to embodied expression and the development of solo practice at institutions across the UK.
DEEP TIME + SLOW CINEMA
If we are to truly open out and observe, in fine detail, the nuanced relationship between human and earth, and within that - how the passage of grief unfolds in an unobstructed way - it is also necessary to find a way to travel our audience into those worlds. Deep time is the passage of time that lives outside of ordinary human awareness. Where we come away from the frenetic tempo of daily life, to immerse ourselves in the long, slow rhythms of geological time, and in doing so, open out an entirely unique perspective. Allowing ourselves to enter deep time, allows us to step inside and experience this world, and yet - it is still our world. Here we bear witness to the human form in this context, and in turn - it evokes the question - how might we then experience ourselves? Who and what are we really? What might we see in the reflections given?
As we travel through deep time, we, as humans, must adapt to follow its rhythms. Watching through the lens of SLOW CINEMA gives to this process. To stay close, we need to drop out of fast moving cinema - and simply watch through the steady and patient gaze of a still frame. Slow cinema sees in a different way. Simple and uncluttered, it heightens detail inside natural dialogue which we might ordinarily miss. It speaks to us and through us in a language we are not used to, but one that is innate.
FRAMEWORK + CREATIVE PROCESS
A YEAR CYCLE:
Following a progressive journey over the period of a year, A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE looks to release all 6 stanzas on film at Winter Solstice 2021.
Audience inclusion has always played a vital role in the development and delivery of any body of work within Spiderflower. During the making of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE, there is opportunity for a small audience to step inside via the CROWDFUNDER, offering a years experiential journey with the project.
THE PERFORMANCE PROCESS:
Follows as it unfolds. It is vital to understand the work does not follow a script, but is set within a loose framework. As an artist, I have no knowing, and it is important I do not know, what will emerge. Absolutely everything in terms of choreography has to be drawn directly through and out of a direct dialogue between human and earth. In time, a story will form, and it is likely to be one not seen before. This is the entire point of the work. It is an act of translation. During this phase poetics are written, and as we move into the spoken word, this is another form of translation. It is a long patient process.
In the most practical sense, the performance process means that I as performer need to spend hours on the land. It is not a process where you can plan a days work and go grab it on film. The most effective way to film is on a single camera, through a still frame and solo. I know that might raise some eyebrows - but the attention of the performer has to be sustained in such a complete and unwavering way for long periods of time. To get a film crew in on this process - would cost thousands. So, it is best worked in this way. Camera crew are brought in for detail and close ups at a later stage. In this way, the entire creation of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is designed to be Covid-proof, as lockdowns will not effect progress and production continues - come what may.
Is wove into the piece with the utmost care. All elements must balance and work together.
Focus will fall intensively on film-making for the duration of 2021, while both elements of Book of Poems and Centre for Earth-Engaged Performance Research are natural by-products and their creation weaves easily with film production. As our year Research & Development (R&D) completes in February 2022, all elements are due to release to a wider audience to work-share before going into production in 2022.
BOOK OF POEMS:
A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is made rich with layers of poetry and the spoken word. At the end of the creative process, poetics, imagery from the films, art and selected diary entries will be made available in book form.
RESEARCH + CEEPR:
Findings and research from A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE will transfer over to Spiderflower's CENTRE FOR EARTH-ENGAGED PERFORMANCE RESEARCH (CEEPR) as an online, educational resource.
OUTREACH + COURSES:
Specially developed courses will accompany the release of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE, to be made available to actors, creatives and open sessions.
LIVE INTER-DISCIPLINARY PERFORMANCE:
Takes us into a new cycle of development and delivery. Spiderflower always prefers to keep the work as live, and hopes to progress A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE on to live inter-disciplinary performance at a later stage.
THE OPPENHEIM-JOHN DOWNES MEMORIAL TRUST