Intern/Associates Diary

Memory Points Rides South

MP Prog

Hello, it’s been rather a while since my last post and many banal and a few very interesting things have happened since then, but I shan’t bore you with the details other than to say, I moved house! Then Memory Points Poole happened and ever since I’ve been trying to pay the bills and get by. Success so far, just about.

In this blog I offer not a look ahead to the Poole Lighthouse, but a look back at what was a brand new location for the Memory Points tour to explore. Just being busy has changed this entry from speculation to a retrospective.

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The biggest difference at the Poole Lighthouse in comparison to the previous two venues was its sheer size. In Eastleigh and Winchester we were in theatres with just one dedicated performance space and all the corridors, nooks and crannies that go with it, but the Lighthouse is a building with a main theatre, concert hall, studio theatre, gallery, cinema, rehearsal spaces, conference rooms and countless other hidden places I may never have found. Mercifully the tour didn’t take in all of these areas but even in using what we did made for the longest and most confusing tour route yet. At times The Poole Lighthouse Labyrinth seemed more appropriate.

However we soon knew the route inside out and it made for possibly the best Memory Points tour yet, it was certainly my favourite. Poole itself is a seaside (well, quayside) town and from the very beginning of the tour you could see and hear real seagulls alongside those heard in the headphones.  As we  listened – “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky”, real gulls echoed these sentiments as they swooped and dived through the clouds. Quite the perfect start if ever there was one.

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But I won’t recount the tour step by step, hopefully you remember it for yourself! Ultimately, The Poole Lighthouse served as a wonderful platform for the show but can it be bettered? I wonder what Brighton and London (fingers crossed!) have in store for us. What’s more the show proved itself as a thoughtful and evocative piece once again. One of the best parts, for me, has been at the very end when the public have a chance to tell us what they thought about the experience and share with us stories of their own memories, some write this down, others love to chat. I can say with confidence that many people were touched by the show and I’ve been touched too. I feel increasingly lucky to be a part of Memory Points, so thank you to all those involved in creating it and to every single person who has come to see it so far. You all make it special. I leave you with a few choice images of some of my favourite parts of the tour this time around.

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Above: One of the Lighthouse’s sometimes eerily similar corridors.

Below: Retrace your steps

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Above: Doodling

Below: A view from the quayside

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Above: Pete’s beaters

Below: Paradise Gardening, Tea For Two & Frags

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Below: Endearing messages

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(Sorry)

I’ll be back with talk of New Tempest Club and my one-man project soon.

Until then, cheers.

Craig

The Beauty of Remembering

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I first got involved in Memory Point(s) last April when the show debuted at The Point in Eastleigh. The project came to my attention after Catherine Church sent an e-mail to one of my lecturers seeking ‘quirky-looking and reliable performers’, I don’t think we were supposed to hear that description but I put myself forward nonetheless and I’m glad I did. Memory Point(s) was completely different to anything I had done before; there wasn’t a lot of traditional ‘acting’ to be done here, the requirement instead to be but a gentle hand to guide people around mysterious and winding spaces, stopping to see pictures, hear sounds and experience the memories of others whilst creating your own. It was fantastic and I was happy to hear that there were plans for the show to tour and that I was still to be involved in my actor/guide guise.

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Fast forward 14-15 months and Memory Point(s) is back and about half way through it’s run at the Theatre Royal Winchester. I had wondered initially how Cath and co were going to make the show work in Winchester. Moving Memory Points from venue to venue takes far more work than a standard end-on piece of theatre. With Platform 4’s creation new routes have to be devised and the soundtrack altered and added to accordingly but I am pleased to report that they’ve done a splendid of job retro-fitting the piece to the nooks and crannies of the Theatre Royal. It manages to retain all of it’s original intimacy and subtlety and gain something in the process, it seems to me that rather than Memory Points being better or worse in any one venue it is instead a different experience at each stop. Themes, images, sounds and events recur, but the buildings and spaces we explore are so different that tours in each venue hold their own special nuances. Of course, we are only in our second venue so this may all be too speculative but I think it will ring true in the upcoming months when Memory Points visits the Poole Lighthouse, Brighton and The Southbank Centre in London.

Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive and I urge you to come and see it, there are still just a few tickets left (I think!). Reviews both local and national have been very good indeed, the links to which can be found below:

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/yoursay/blogs/talking_shop/10516928.Memorable_Show_in_Winchester/?ref=fbrec&fb_action_ids=10151781052935466&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2013/jul/02/memory-points-lyn-gardner-review

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That’s all from me for now, expect more on Memory Point(s) very soon. Until then, cheers.

Craig Chalmers

There Are More Things In Heaven And Earth

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Hello,

So, it is done. I would have posted sooner and given an update on the process last week but so much has changed from then to now and there was so much work to be done that I didn’t have the time. Anyway, as I say, the work-in-progress showings have been completed and our Hamlet Part One is something I think we can be proud of.

‘Part One’ made perfect sense, we were perhaps never going to be able to tell the whole story after a 4 week rehearsal schedule. Well, we could have done but I don’t think that would have done the group justice. It was a wise decision to pause and take stock of what we had at the end of the third week and to polish and embellish our existing material.

And what did we have/do we have? I think 81 minutes of intrigue, humour, atmosphere and terror, a piece that reminds us of our own wavering mortality and at the same time tells us of the immortality of Hamlet as a story, as a text and as a character. Hamlet is forever re-told and will continue to be long after we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil, yet within that life sits a tale of so much death. To be or not to be, yes, quite so… (Charlie Handy, below, as the first player, did a sterling job with that most iconic of speeches).

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But where do we go from here? Onwards only! This is a work that needs to be developed, nay, deserves to be developed. New Tempest Club had grown as a project since last year’s Comedy Of Errors and everyone involved has progressed since then too. We’ve more experience and we’re getting better, our understanding of the text has improved and our performance of the text better as well. More so (and maybe I only speak for myself here) our affection for the words has grown. Shakespeare’s words (whether presented as blank verse or prose) are poetry but, we must remember, however brilliant the bard’s words are, they are not gospel. And by keeping this in mind we allowed ourself to be freed by the text, not constricted by it. We played scenes out of order, added modern English and didn’t even allow our Hamlet to muse most famously on life and death. This approach to the text mightn’t be wholly original but it worked for us and I am pleased with our creation.

Feedback for the show was excellent; friends, family and professionals alike all enjoyed the performance, and some were genuinely moved. I just hope now that we can take heed from what our audiences have said and develop the work further. It’s been a joy to get my teeth into Shakespeare again and I think we’ve created something really special with great potential for growth, and lest we forget,  that was the aim of the project in the first place.

So, to that end, well done to everyone and for all, our thanks.

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Above: Megan Blowey – bottom left, facing away (Marcellus & Rosencrantz), Emma Gutteridge – above Megan (Laertes & Guildenstern), Helen Grime – top left (project co-ordinator and The Fixer), Charlie Handy – right of Emma in the first column of seats (Horatio & First Player), Simon Plumridge – at the desk (Director, Designer, Maker & Ghost of King Hamlet), Josie Doig – above Simon, face blurred (Queen Gertrude), Becky Osborne – right of Josie (Polonius), Gemma Burges – lying on her front (Ophelia), Tom Preston – far right (Hamlet) and myself – out of shot, behind the camera (King Claudius).

Craig Chalmers