Artist’s Diary – SELINA THOMPSON

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ENTRY #5 – Friday 11 January 2013

‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello,

At this point in time you might be feeling a bit neglected by me, Dear Reader, and to be honest with you, I wouldn’t blame you – I’ve been very much absent in the last few days, and that wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.

Selina Thompson  Selina Thompson  Selina Thompson

The reasons for said absence have been a particularly stubborn bit of food poisoning. You remember my excitement about Lebanese food? Well, that’ll teach me for showing off won’t it. Sigh. Tut.

Fenella Ryan popped in to say hi!

So I’ve been in bed for a couple of days, and the majority of work for this project has been quite thinky, really – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but isn’t ideal, either, especially when you know you have rehearsal space a twenty minute walk down the road! Gah! But you know, puke and snore was all my body was really up for, so puke and snore was what I did.

Selina Thompson

Today though, I’ve returned to Rich Mix, and been able to have a nice chat with Chris and Sheena (and will soon be having a virtual chat with Adam) about where I want to take the project next, how to get everything ready for the work in progress (or show and tell, as I like to call them) on the 21st. Things still need confirming, but it is likely that I’ll be popping back up to London, doing some Skyping, and also doing a little practice run with some friends in Leeds, ensuring that the work doesn’t become to introspective, too much of me sat in a room with a pen/ laptop, rather than me on my feet throwing glass around. Cus the latter is where the piece is, not the former.

Selina Thompson

This also led to a really lovely, really helpful chat with Chris about the techniques and exercises that he uses when he has made solo shows. We talked a lot about the importance of forcing yourself past the urge to sit and write and think, the value of being able to watch yourself – be that through the use of mirrors or of video cameras, and also of setting yourself targets and structures, being able to chart your progress throughout the day, and pushing yourself to the very limit. I’m hoping that by the end of this process, I’ll be able to write myself out a list of techniques and skills that I can use when developing things, and I think this week has been a good start.

COFFEE!!

So. I’ll do you another blog soon I think – I promised you five, so five you shall get. Whether you like it or not. But safe to say, illness aside, this week has been fantastic, and I’m excited to take what I’ve learnt back to Leeds with me as I get everything ready for the work in progress on Monday 21st (aaaahhhhh!!! So exciting and so terrifying all at once).

I’ll sign off with a final massive thank you to both Sheena and Chris who have been wonderful all week, in sickness and in health, and also to Rich Mix, for giving me a lovely space to play in and think in.

Speak to you soon, dudes

Selina x

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ENTRY #4 – Thursday 10 January 2013

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ENTRY #3 – Wednesday 9 January 2013

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ENTRY #2 – Tuesday 8 January 2013

All vibrant ideas, quirky references, slapstick gags, and a very visual, raucous way of thinking…

Happy Tuesday, Boys and Girls,

I write this from the relative (non existent) decadence of the Travelodge. Not that I’m complaining – it’s quiet, peaceful, warm… so this blog might be a bit woozy and sleepy (sponsored  by penguin pyjamas).

Selina Thompson  Selina Thompson

I’ve been really, really happy about today, and super excited to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it, cus it was a slow starting, oversleeping, coffee all spilt down my dress sort of day to begin with. Luckily, Adam James, – who is mentoring me on this project in addition to Sheena and Chris, was in today, and he was a bit like a rocket up the bum for the whole piece – all vibrant ideas, quirky references and slapstick gags, and a very visual, raucous way of thinking. I loved having someone else in the room, talking through things, throwing ideas around, and reconnecting with working in a more visceral, interaction based, audiency kind of way.

Adam James

So, Adam arrived at about half past nine, and I performed what I had so far – we discussed things I was unhappy about and thought about how to provide a build up to the stories that I’m telling, how to highlight moments in Ren and Stimpy-esque detail, and how slapstick can keep the presentation of violence light and ridiculous. An awful lot of the session was wandering about, thinking out loud and saying “Imagine this” or “What about that” – but it was lovely, a much more lively way in which to think things through, and by the time Adam left, I was feeling galvanised and enthusiastic.

Selina and Adam  Selina Thompson

Selina and Adam  Selina and Adam

For the afternoon session, I retreated to the relative warmth of the Rich Mix Café, to try and solidify the various thoughts from the afternoon, and work it all into a nice, coherent script, a set of notes that would provide me as a performer with enough control to stay in charge of the level of chaos that I’m hoping to create. The end of the piece is still an unanswered question – a sticking point that I’m still a little frustrated by – but I have time and it will come.

Selina and Adam

In other news, I’m going to a Lebanese Restaurant later. Who’s excited for their dinner? Me, that’ who.

Big Love,

Selina x

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ENTRY #1 – Monday 7 January 2013

While I write it, I will be eating cheese, bread, chorizo and apples.

Just thought you’d want to know.

Hi Guys, Hi, Hi, Hi!

It’s Selina here – I write silly blogs, so this week you will get 5 silly blogs, but I promise to take time and care over them. I’m sat in the bright lights of the Rich Mix Café, waiting for Life of Pi to start. It’ll be the first 3D film I watch, so you know. Exciting.

Selina Thompson

Far more EXCITING than that though, was the day I just spent at Rich Mix, beginning the development of my piece Tipsy Claire the Twilight Mother. I realised this morning that it’s the first time I’ve developed a piece of work, taken what I’ve made and improved it – so it’s an odd feeling. But an exciting one. By the end of this week, I will (hopefully) have begun developing a new skill  – and that’s a really invigorating feeling.

Selina Thompson

The day began with a phone call to Sheena (because I was very much lost) which turned into a nice early morning briefing with both her and Chris, in which we sat down and chatted about what I want to achieve this week, and how I want to achieve it. We chatted housekeeping, budgets, mentors, all the important stuff, before I was left with my trusty laptop, diary, post it notes, and a selection of pens that didn’t work to get going.

Selina Thompson

I still find making solo work a bit weird. It’s lots of talking to myself and feeling like I’m cheating if I take a minute to think, or to write something down – I’m still in that university mindset of thinking that if I’m not moving constantly then I’m not really working. But this is something that will come with practice, and by midday I had a little something to show, and got lots of lovely feedback – it’s a very talky piece, but the key changes need to come in mindset – conviction, confidence in silence, control, changes in pace and tone and variety.

I then popped out for lunch. I don’t know if you’ve been before, but Shoreditch is fancy. I think I may have even seen a celebrity (I didn’t). I had what was probably the best salad I will eat, and then forged ahead with an afternoon’s work on group violence, the performance of anecdotes, the weaving of imagination into memory, and what it was like to be 14, and in awe of someone slightly older. The afternoon was trickier than the morning – but I know from experience that all that means is that when that bit is sorted, it’ll be one of the best bits.

Selina Thompson

What else? Tonight, I’m going to write a script, so that I’ve got a beautiful lovely framework to hang the performance off. While I write it, I will be eating cheese, bread, chorizo and apples. Just thought you’d want to know.

Big Love.

Speak to you tomorrow xxx

P.S. London, why are you so cold? I’m from Yorkshire, it shouldn’t be like this. I feel like Sanka in Cool Runnings. Sort it out.

Selina Thompson

All photos by Sheena
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