Artist’s Diary – NATHAN BIRKINSHAW

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ENTRY #5 – Friday 7 February 2014

Last day in Rich Mix

This made me sad.

Since the loss of the greenroom in Manchester there hasn’t been such a place that’s been so welcoming to me in terms of just being nice. The faces I met day in and out were great and I hope I can find my way back there to make a piece of work soon

That being said. Cue cards in hand. Obstacle course in tow. Camera set up. I played with structure and rhythm and movement and falling. Yet it was still missing something.

Something to put it all together. Chris quoted David Lynch in saying the Ducks Eye. I didn’t know what that meant but in a way it ties into the heart that Karen’s been telling me to find. After a while I recorded myself and watched it back. Had a slice of cake and then did it again for Chris and Sheena.

Then we realised it was still missing the connection the original had which came from the truthfulness in the way some of the text was delivered at the Oval first time around. Basically I found that stripping away the personal created a very cold and mechanical version of a show and that’s not what I set out to make. So.

And break

And again.

By the end I do believe its finally there. Theres tightening up still to do and wish I had another week but even I know I work better with an audience so what could be better than the Monday rolling round and then build from there.

All in all. Exciting times.

Heres a video link for something I edited in bed when I couldn’t sleep. Its directly and indirectly a promo/teaser.

Id like to take the time now to thank Chris and Sheena, Karen and RichMix for putting up with me. I do believe in all honesty I’m not the greatest person to work with. I’m incredibly internal with working and see myself more closely as a writer than a performance maker. This I think has done a complete one eighty in my reeducation into form and structure, meaning and form and structure and form and meaning.

Basically, always find the heart.

https://vimeo.com/85926042

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ENTRY #4 – Thursday 6 February 2014

Falling…

Today I learnt to fall.

No really

We tried a few different ways.

Karens second meeting was met with bread. What was to come next was not only the physical abuse I put my body through but the mental wading through thick, thick mud. At one point I thought I’d lost my mind. That’s O.K

I found the heard of the piece in the end and spent most of the day going over the sections I had defined in my own self I was prepared to keep.

Today I learnt to fall.

No really.

To actually pin point what I found, was more the conversations about the visual side of it and not just relying on a monologue prewritten in whatever mind I was in that day and connecting it willy-nilly. We found a structure we thought worked. I was happy about this – but being day four and nowhere near a full piece I was starting to get incredibly frustrated in what I was doing. As mentioned before the hostel I’m in is great. Location wise (if your not in a tube strike or a massive tourist.) however a goods night sleep is something I was a million miles away from.

 

ENTRY #3 – Wednesday 5 February 2014

Celebrating failure.

Well, with it being the worlds most subtle walk to work day (Tube strikes) little old Nathan couldn’t actually manage to get from his hostel in Bayswater to Shoreditch. Which meant I spent five hours or so getting lost, wet, coffee, scalded, belittled, lost and wet. Ultimately the afternoon was spent falling and restructuring what I had already written previous to arriving. All in all, pretty bad day. So as a reward to people actually reading this. Here’s some of the text that didn’t make the cut. This isn’t to mean I won’t actually use it one day, but if you do first. That’s O.K.

Due to extensive research done by the League University of Science, diamond has been confirmed as the hardest thing known to man. The research is as follows.

Pocket-protected scientists built a wall of iron and crashed a diamond car into it at 400 miles per hour, and the car was unharmed.

They then built a wall out of diamond and crashed a car made of iron moving at 400 miles an hour into the wall, and the wall came out fine.

They then crashed a diamond car made of 400 miles per hour into a wall, and there were no survivors.

They crashed 400 miles per hour into a diamond travelling at iron car. South West London was powerless for hours.

They rammed a wall of metal into a 400 mile per hour made of diamond, and the resulting explosion shifted the earth’s orbit 400 million miles away from the sun, saving the earth from a meteor the size of a small Washington suburb that was hurtling towards North East Moscow at 400 billion miles per hour.

They shot a diamond made of iron at a car moving at 400 walls per hour, and as a result caused two wayward airplanes to lose track of their bearings, One made a emergency landing in the middle of a housing district in Sydney, Australia, there was luckily no casualties, the other is said to have gone back to 1955.We’re still waiting on confirmation of this.

They spun 400 miles at diamond into iron per wall. The results were inconclusive.

Finally, they placed 400 diamonds per hour in front of a car made of wall travelling at miles, and the result proved without a doubt that diamonds were the hardest thing of all time, if not just the hardest thing known the man…

But what if they were wrong and the hardest thing is…

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ENTRY #2 – Tuesday 4 February 2014

Nathan Birkinshaw          Nathan Birkinshaw - day 2

Today was my first session with Goat Island lady, Karen Christopher. Instantly laughing and joking I knew we’d get on well. What I didn’t expect was the utter head F*** that was to ensue: First off we spoke about my previous performance to which she threw some fun and interesting improvisational exercise where we took twenty minutes to ‘perform’ what I thought the audience were thinking. In which I channeled a series of one liners in which I described the attention of a audience severely deteriorating, and went on to do another ten on how I was thinking the show was going. Obviously with no right or wrong answers I think I threw a curve ball or actually I didn’t do what she wanted. But again, no right or wrong answers so Karen’s response was constructive in trying to find the heart of what is going on. Which left me thinking of celebrating failure.

Nathan Birkinshaw - day 2          Nathan Birkinshaw - day 2          Karen Christopher - day 2   

Karen Christopher - day 2

Nathan Birkinshaw - day 2           Nathan Birkinshaw - day 2          Karen Christopher - day 2

 

ENTRY #1 – Monday 3 February 2014

Watching myself in rehearsals on Monday would have been a pretty enduring task for anyone to watch…

..Cutting and adding and cutting and adding text for the bulk of six hours…

..Reading out what we found was new and exciting after it came to me…

This isn’t to say it was fruitless…

IMG_5926b

Chris and Sheena informed me as to why I was chosen. Unlike Neo in the Matrix it was more because they liked what I did instead of them knowing my ability to save humanity. This is a show after all. I doubt I’d save one person by doing it. A revelation in conversation has me thinking wildly about why we do this. Perform that is. It’s rare it changes the world. It did do once upon a time in the days of European artists that I shall not named incase it looks like I’m comparing myself to them. Put it this way. I’m now on the look out on stripping away the personal and making a more generalized view of an eschewed romantic comedy based around alcohol in our times. The celebratory, the misery, the clichés, but I still need a WHY.

IMG_5924b

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