Animating the Story

As I addressed in my previous post, Making a Show, a concern for my piece is that it will not be interesting for an audience. Due to this, I have begun to think about additional ways to make my piece more engaging and interesting for the audience- primarily by ‘animating’ the story. Instead of simply talking to the audience about these journeys (like one of Spalding Gray’s productions) I intend to direct incorporate the audience into the piece.

For instance, in one of my memories I was sat in a 7-seat people carrier when we drove through a thick forest-like area. As we did, branches and sharp leaves of the trees started to scratch against the car and eventually got in through the windows (in those days air conditioning in hire cars was a luxury). Everyone in the car (me, my brothers, my dad and my sister’s boyfriend (at the time) frantically tried to close the window to prevent getting attacked. How I would want to show this on stage would be to set out 7 seats and have the audience sit in them, as if they were in the car with me. When they were in the ‘car’ I would use prop tree branches and brush against the side of the ‘car’ so that the story involved the audience (by placing them directly into the action). I have also thought about creating sound effects to go with this, such as making a high pitch screech to replicate the sound of the branches scratching the car. I would also use lighting to display changes in locations and temperature- when driving through the forest I would have the lighting change from a bright warm light to a dark green, creating a clear transition of location and further involving the audience into the story.

What I call the 'Stone Dog'. I rotated the rock in it's eye to make it look more friendly. Presumably the eye was placed by someone else wanting to create the effect of a dog.
What I call the ‘Stone Dog’. I rotated the rock in it’s eye to make it look more friendly. Presumably the eye was placed by someone else wanting to create the effect of a dog in the first place.

I may also have the audience ‘play’ the different characters in the story, for example, placing my dad’s hat and camera case on someone whilst in the car and asking them to mime driving. I am also planning to have scripts to give to the audience so that they can speak as different characters. By doing so, I want to create an intimate and engaging experience for the audience, they are not only listening to some of my fondest memories, but reliving them with me. I am considering limiting the audience to 6 people, thus creating a fun, friendly and intimate atmosphere (thereby recreating the emotions I felt whilst on my holidays for the audience).

Making A Show

As my current idea stands, there is a concern that the stories I tell will be interesting to me but not so much for an audience. Therefore, I am beginning to experiment with how I can make my idea more interesting for an audience and thereby creating a show rather than simply forming an idea. I have begun to experiment with adding comedy to my piece, using exaggerated mannerisms and voices of my family members (as a means of showing their foibles). For example, for my father I experimented with making my voice hoarser whilst accentuating his speech patterns (particularly focusing on words and phrases that have almost become his catchphrases).

I also have decided to play with the idea of time and fading memories. As such, I am beginning to experiment with cutting and pasting different memories in random places as a means of replicating how the brain often jumps between memories and forgets other aspects. For instance, I may be talking through a memory of when I was crossing the swamp and suddenly break out into Eye of the Tiger (the version sang by the inebriated tourist). Even then the song would act as a fleeting moment, only featuring for 10 seconds- as it does in my memory. This is not only as a means of adding comedy to the piece, but to replicate sudden thought changes and how the brain associates certain memories to others. My show would not be told chronologically, often shifting between different memories and years to represent how our memories are imperfect.

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I want the piece to end with the memory concerning the Cliffside. By doing so, I want to create a parallel between everyone’s memories and the stories being told, suggesting that much like the cliff, memories can only go so far- there is a limit to how much we can remember. Though we can remember some aspects of our lives more vividly than others, we can never truly remember everything perfectly, just as a cliff is never perfectly straight and often has pieces breaking away or falling off. The cliff is therefore not only a practical element of the story, but symbolic of the loss and imperfections of memory. Though I am yet to decide on how the piece starts and what the audience come into, I have thought of starting sat on the cliff and ending it in the same way- repeating the opening section at the end (again fortify the idea that memories are limited).

Memories are like a cliffside, you never know what’s gonna erode away.

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Giggs, J. (2015) Menorcan Cliffs. Unpublished Photograph.

Giggs, J. (2015) Cliffside Erosion. Unpublished Photograph.

Experimenting with Music

As I talked about in one of my previous posts- A Memory of Music, I may want to include various songs that I have heard and come to love from my journeys around Menorca. I also said about placing a radio filter effect over this sound so that it would sound more authentic to how I remember it. Today I experimented with trying to make the Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger sound as if it was being played from a radio. Using the audio editing software Audacity, I applied two main effects to the music, Equalisation and a High Pass Filter. Equalisation allows you to amplify some sound frequencies whilst dampening others. This effect happens naturally on radio due to decrease in sound quality as it is transmitted. A High Pass Filter allows you to cut-off certain levels of frequency and reduces these frequencies that are lower than the set cut-off frequency. For the sake of this experiment I set the frequency cut-off quite high at 2000Hz in order to replicate the loss of sound quality found in radio. By combining these effects, the frequencies in the music are amplified and then restricted- resulting in a muffled sound. Below are the results:

And for comparison, below is the original song on YouTube:

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Survivor, 1982. Eye of the Tiger. In: Eye of the Tiger [Online]. Scotti Brothers Records [viewed 5th March 2017]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4

A Text Which Could Be Used As A Weapon

During last week’s session, we had to write a piece of creative writing. It did not necessarily have to make sense but required us to think about an idea or theme. We were given some ideas as a stimulus from Tim Etchells’ On Performance Writing, one of which was “A text which could be used as a weapon” (Etchell, 1999, 178). This instantly made me think of an idea- based on my recent experiences of discovering how different people hate certain words. I considered a performance in which I simply spoke words that people hated, repeating them continuously. We were given 20 minutes to think about and design an idea. I used this time to go about to various locations asking random people what their least favourite word/phrase was. I collected the words into a tally- noting how many times each word was said. I made a rule that I would take people’s first answer regardless of what it was. Using this tally, I wrote a performance piece that repeated words depending on the amount of times they had been mentioned. Although I did not get to perform the piece (due to my involvement in an extracurricular performance) I have put the text I wrote below:

Words of Hatred

Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Clump, Blah blah blah, Joe, #yolo, Squelch, Squelch, Vagina, Kinda, Minge, Minge, Cunt, Cunt, Cunt, Cunt, Cunt, Cunt, Fuck knows, Beige, Dark, Literature, Honestly, Crunch, Necessary, Generally, Clutch, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I’m not sure, Fuck, Fuck, Shibboleth, Stupid, Err, Err, Err, Lazy, Twat, Prick, Okay, Okay, Nice, Why, I have no idea, What, Oh, Oh god, Snowflake, No, Brexit, Capitalism.

After all, they say the pen is mightier than the sword.

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The English Grammar Club, (2015) Pen is mightier than the sword [Online]. Available at: http://www.grammar.zone/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/The-pen-is-mightier-than-the-sword.jpg [Accessed 27 February 2017].

Sleight (A Card Game)

During my group and I’s meeting (in which we were working on our presentation on Chris Goode) we took a short break and began to talk about Yu-Gi-Oh! – a trading card game that revolves around battling monsters with varying cards. This reminded my time on holiday, as the first time I ever purchased some Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and began playing the game was in Menorca. Later that night, I decided to download the Yu-Gi-Oh! app on my iPhone and relive some old memories of playing as a child. From this, I began to think about creating my own card game. Whilst it would be in some ways like Yu-Gi-Oh! I would not want to copy it.

Below is some information that I created for the game:

Game name: Sleight

Players: 2

Requirements: 2 different coloured/patterned deck of cards

Rules:

Players take it in turns to attack and defend. The goal of the game is to reduce the opponents HP to zero whilst defending themselves. The starting HP values will be decided by the players, but it is recommended that the starting HP is no lower than sixty. Each player has thirty cards in their deck, consisting of three of each numbered card (Ace-10). Aces are valued as a 1.

The player starts with five cards in their hand which are drawn from the top of the respective player’s deck. The cards should be shuffled.

The first player to attack is decided by flipping a coin. Damage is inflicted to a player when the attacker’s score is higher than the defender’s score:

Attacker’s score – Defender’s score = Damage dealt

The attacker must lay their cards down first (face down). The defender then lays down their cards (vertically if defending, horizontally if deflecting). Both players reveal their cards and calculate the outcome. Used cards are either placed at the bottom of the deck or in the ‘Grave’ pile.

At the end of each turn (when the player roles switch) both players draw a single card from their deck unless they already have a full hand (five cards). If the defender’s score is higher, they will receive no damage. If the attacker’s score is higher than the defender’s ‘Deflect’ score, the full amount of damage is dealt. If the defender’s ‘Deflect’ score is higher, no damage is received and the attacker’s cards ‘Break’.

Below are the options the attacker and defender have when making their move in more detail.

Attacker:

  1. Attack- A basic attack consisting of one to three cards. The attack value is the sum of all the cards. For example, putting down a 4, a 5 and a 6 would result in an attack score of 15.

When only using one card:

  • If the attacker beats the defenders score, the card is returned to the bottom of the player’s deck. If the defender beats the attackers score, the card is sent to the ‘Grave’ pile. If the defender uses ‘Deflect’ and ‘Breaks’ the attackers card, it is placed into the ‘Grave’ pile.

When using two or three cards:

  • If the attacker beats the defenders score, the cards are returned to the bottom of the player’s deck. If the defender beats the attackers score, the highest value card is move to the ‘Grave’ pile. If the defender uses ‘Deflect’ and ‘Breaks’ the attacker’s cards, all cards are placed into the ‘Grave’ pile.
  1. Sleight- If a player has three of the same card, for example three 5s, they can perform a ‘Sleight’. A ‘Sleight’ is a powerful attack that always results in an attack score of 40 regardless of the cards that are used to activate it.
  2. Revive- The player does not attack but instead ‘Revives’ all cards from the ‘Grave’ pile and returns them to the bottom of the player’s deck. If the attacker uses this move, the defender will automatically ‘Restock’ their cards. If there are no cards to ‘Revive’, the attacker cannot use this move.

Defender:

  1. Defend- A basic defence move consisting of one to three cards. The defence value is the sum of all the cards. For example, putting down a 3, a 4 and a 5 would result in a defence score of 12. A defender can use a ‘Sleight’ whilst defending resulting in a defence score of 40.

When only using one card:

  • If the defender’s score is higher than the attacker’s score, the card is returned to the bottom of the player’s deck. If the attacker’s score is higher than the defender’s score, the card is sent to the ‘Grave’ pile.

When using two or three cards:

  • If the defender’s score is higher than the attacker’s score, all cards are returned to the bottom of the player’s deck. If the attacker’s score is higher than the defender’s score, the highest card is sent to the ‘Grave’ pile.
  1. Deflect- An advanced defence move consisting of one to three cards. The deflect score is the sum of all the cards. If the defenders deflect score is higher than the attacker’s score, then no damage is dealt and the cards ‘Break’ (sending all the attacker’s cards into the ‘Grave’ pile). If the defenders deflect score is lower than the attacker’s score, then the full amount of damage is dealt. If the Deflect score and the attacker’s score are equal then half damage is dealt (if this results in a decimal number, the damage is rounded up). Using an Ace whilst deflecting will instantly destroy the attacker’s hand regardless of its score (including Sleights).

When only using one card:

  • If the defenders deflect score is higher than the attacker’s score, the card is returned to the bottom of the player’s deck. If the attacker’s score is higher than the defenders deflect score, the card is sent to the ‘Grave’ pile. If the Deflect score and the attacker’s score are equal then half damage is dealt (if this results in a decimal number, the damage is rounded up).

When using two or three cards:

  • If the defenders deflect score is higher than the attacker’s score, all cards are returned to the bottom of the player’s deck. If the attacker’s score is higher than the defenders deflect score, the highest card is sent to the ‘Grave’ pile. If the Deflect score and the attacker’s score are equal then half damage is dealt (if this results in a decimal number, the damage is rounded up).

When a ‘Deflect’ is successful, the opponents card(s) ‘Break’. This sends all the attacker’s cards into the ‘Grave’ pile. Additionally, in the following turn the player whose cards were broken receives double damage. For example, if the attacking player (player 1) lays a score of 15 but the defending player (player 2) lays a deflecting score of 18, the attacker’s cards will ‘Break’. In the following turn, player 2’s attack is doubled. If player 2 were to lay a score of 10, it would double to 20. This applies to ‘Sleights’- meaning the highest amount of damage that can be dealt is 80HP.

  1. Restock- The player does not defend but instead restocks their hand so that they are holding five cards.

Equal Scores:

When only using one card:

  • In an instance when both player’s cards are equal, both are returned to the bottom of the respective player’s decks regardless of the outcome.

When using two or three cards:

  • In an instance when both players scores are equal, all cards are returned to the bottom of the respective player’s decks regardless of the outcome.

Sleight Dual- In an instance in which both the attacker and defender use a ‘Sleight’ the winner is determined by the highest sum of all three cards. For example, three 7s would beat three 5s. If the attacker wins, 40HP damage is dealt, if the defender wins no damage is dealt. If the defender was using the ‘Sleight’ as a ‘Deflect’ and wins the dual, the attacker’s cards ‘Break’. If the ‘Deflect’ loses however, 20HP damage is done. Whoever loses the ‘Sleight Dual’ has their card placed in the ‘Grave’ pile. The winner’s cards are placed at the bottom of their deck.

If a ‘Sleight’ is used after ‘Breaking’ the opponent’s cards and a ‘Sleight’ is also used by the defender, 40 damage is dealt.

Happy dueling!

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Wikihow, (2016) Set of Cards [Online]. Available at: http://www.wikihow.com/images/c/c0/Play-Pig-(Card-Game)-Step-17-Version-2.jpg [Accessed 24 February 2017].