By Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch
Playing at home comes with some advantages; knowing the field or having your family around, ready to chant your name or feed you comfort food when exhaustion, frustration or any other struggle creeps in, are just some of them. As someone leaving away from home, finding a space, a person or a smell that makes me feel AT home is priceless. Something on my nape softens and so does my guard. I let go of the effort that is trying to be likeable at all times. At home pretending is not a thing and that sits well with me.
On Week II we were at The Holbeck, the oldest working men’s club in Britain which nowadays is Slung Low’s headquarters. The space couldn’t be more authentic, a place that breaths history and stories all over, with a stage in the middle of a bar and a full lighting and sound system to get the ambience just right. Such charismatic context comes of course with a unique bunch of humans which is Slung Low’s team. I will take every opportunity to shout out about a group of people that welcomed me and ACCA into their world from the get go.
And so we were playing at home and it was a new week; I had already seen the eyes of the beast and now I was a bit more ready to extend my arm and try to caress it. I was prepared to shake off the paralysis of Week I and move in for the kill; and I wasn’t alone. Alongside myself was of course Charlotte, loyal squire; Jake Evans, our gender performance specialist; Matt Angove, our lighting and sound master; and Kara McKechnie, our dramaturgy guru.
The main attraction of the week was the character work. With the guidance of Jake Evans - and the analytic and multi referential eye of Kara McKechnie - we dived into exploring heteronormative cliches. How does a ‘macho’ or a damsel in distress (to mention a couple) move, sound or interact? After some role play, we mixed and matched them; merging two opposite or complementary characters to create a third one as a result of the combo, creating toothsome and complex ‘character cocktails’.
Another highlight was the lighting and sound possibilities that we explored by the always helping hand of Matt Angove. The goal was to shine a light on how can lighting and sound be almost fully diegetic and controlled by the performers throughout the narrative of the show… Ai ai ai!!
Altogether, Week II was like that part of the movie that makes you go like ‘hold on…this shit might actually be the good kind of shit!’, and so it left me with a strong sense that exciting times were ahead…