by Sarah Deller

sooooo doing a show with laryngitis is no fun. who knew? 

the shittiest bit is that even though I barely speak during the day, I still haven't had time to recover. so instead of getting markedly better, I'm lingering in this "still pretty hoarse and cough-y" stage. Major improvement from Tuesday, though, when I couldn't speak and we had to cancel the preview. I did the dress rehearsal and our Tuesday night invited dress without speaking - Dan or Keelin read my lines. That was amazingly fun and forced me to be a better actor. Sweet exercise.  We did something like that when I worked on The Seagull with Tanja Jacobs. I can't remember if we did the whole play like that - we might have. Or maybe we just did the scenes off book way before we were actually off book. In any case, I love doing runs like that - it's nice to have something to break up working on a character or play in a certain way. 

now off to bed!!!! god, school + theatre is fun but also exhausting. 

reading week and my feelings for Mike Leigh by Sarah Deller

it's reading week!

it's terrible to see the whole week stretched out before me and imagine all the personal artistic / academic projects I'd love to work on.. and then realize I have to catch up on school. 


hopefully I'll be able to set aside some time every day for my own projects... I'd also like to read / watch plays for my own pleasure. There are some sweet theatre video / digital theatre databases I have been checking out. So my goal is to do one "input" thing and one "output" thing every day just for me. Watch one play and write one poem, for instance. And spend the rest of the day doing input / output for school. 

Also, there's a TON of movies I want to see right now!! I hope they all come to Halifax! Every couple of years there will be two months when there are so many films I am interested in. And then the other 22 months of those 2 years I hate absolutely everything. Mostly I really like historical dramas, and movies about art... So there's some great ones coming this way. 

I really want to take a film / photography class... I can imagine shots (either for film or photography) and I can never achieve them because I don't have the knowledge, or technique, or something. And it's so baffling and frustrating for me to see something with such exactitude in my mind and then not be able to create it or replicate it. Which is the reason I gave up painting and drawing.

Anyway, I think about that all the time but what got me thinking of it this time around was the trailer for Mr Turner. 

There's so many beautiful shots! I can't! And so many fantastic actors. Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen.... And of course it has to do with Turner. Even though I just said I gave up painting, deep down I do still consider myself to be a painter. And I love art history so much.... 

love Mike Leigh films. Love them. Visually the movies are always stunning, and the characters are fascinating. Vera Drake had a really profound impact on me - I'll write about that and Imelda Staunton at some other time because this post is long enough as it is - and when I found out about his style of working I was so intrigued. And from what I've heard / read, he applied so many of the same principles to this, even though it was a historical drama... Very cool. 

Thankfully Mr Turner is playing at the Oxford Street theatre, so maybe I'll be able to see it this week, if I get enough school work done... speaking of which...

where did January go???? by Sarah Deller

I remember thinking I'd be spending a lot of my time at the beginning of this term doing school work. Hahahahahaha. I don't know where the time has gone but somehow I am behind in school and I still have a lot of obligations to fulfill. 

Last week I did a sweet workshop with Ann-Marie Kerr. It was phenomenal. Some parts of it reminded me a lot of neutral mask: I felt open and responsive; it was so simple and so true. And then a lot of it was very challenging. I love entering a sort of raw, primal space in myself. Some of the workshop allowed me to access that space in myself easily, but there were still parts of the day that were terrifying - falling forwards, for instance. As determined as I was to do it,  something in my head kept getting in the way.  And equally as important as trying things myself was watching my peers explore. It was moving to watch such dear friends of mine tackle challenges and face fears and so on. The collective support in the room was incredible. I'll never forget climbing on my friend Nick to touch the ceiling. After a few attempts, I looked down and suddenly I was being physically supported by every person in the workshop. And then I touched the ceiling. Haha. 

And we're still doing puppetry! And I still love it so much! I wish I could explain it! I think it touches on that same sort of "primal" thing I mentioned earlier; I enter this sort of driven, focussed space.  But with this added layer of intellect... I just really, really like working on one thing in such a focussed and dedicated way. 

My main priority lately has been writing, though. I've been working on fiction every day. It's so wonderful. I love it in part because I can do it on my own, and really accomplish something in a short amount of time. Even if it's two shitty poems, I can complete them in one night without relying on anyone else. Really nice feeling. 

It's been hard for me to concentrate on school because at the moment I'm so much more interested in personal projects. As Laura and I were saying yesterday, in an ideal world school would cater to those projects, but sadly it doesn't a lot of the time. It's so hard to force myself to do readings and research for school when there are readings and research I'd rather be doing on my own...

perhaps puppets???? by Sarah Deller

Today we had our first puppetry workshop with Jim Morrow and Struan Robertson from Mermaid Theatre and it was amazing.

I didn't really know anything about puppets. I still don't, but I knew even less three hours ago. I made some marionettes in high school and that was a lot of fun, but that was pretty much the extent of my experience and knowledge. But I was on board from the beginning, when Jim spoke about puppets in a really intriguing way. He talked about "objects moving through space" and there was something really - clean, almost; pure; essential - in that phrase that impacted me. 

Working with the puppets today was everything I could have wanted. We were in groups of five, manipulating "doughboy" puppets, which are approximately 5 feet tall. We had to get the puppet to walk across the room and perform various simple actions. It was a huge challenge, it was detailed work, it required collaboration and a lot of thinking. It was necessary to plunge in, but also to constantly observe and consider and experiment. And it was so imperfect! It was amazing to work on a sequence again, and again, and again, and improve every time (or not!), and know that there was still so much room for improvement. Really, it was the most fantastic, thrilling experience and I want to be doing it again right now.