Starting Blocks: Elisabeth Carlile

Elisabeth Carlile writes about the later stages of the ten-week process of creating her brand new performance, ‘Hush Now My Darling’, for our Starting Blocks showcase on Sat 19 March.

I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a hoarder. I tend to have a clear-out fairly frequently and if I don’t need it, it goes. Except when it comes to any form of paper with writing on it. Any note I may have ever made, any doodle I liked the look of, any idea that I have scrawled down before I lose it. Any of that stuff… well, that gets to stay. I have countless boxes stuffed with notes that have been scribbled on, newspaper pages, receipts, napkins or leaflets. I have piles of half-filled notebooks leaning against the wall. My calendar has more ideas in it than dates and the back of my hand constantly acts as a temporary notepad. In other words, my thoughts are everywhere.

Now I’m sure you can picture what it looks like whilst I am piecing together a new performance. I have fragments of text and ideas dotted, quite literally, in the most bizarre places. You would think this is a positive thing and that all I need to do is simply tie together each different fragment. The trouble is,  I know that somewhere I have a scrap of paper that only makes sense if read alongside a specific Post-it note. Can I find either of these two things now I need them? Not at all.

I guess, this is a little where my mind is at, as well… I have the bare bones of my performance, and lots and lots of teeny, tiny moments to flesh it out with. Where these moments are going, I don’t necessarily know. I feel as though I have poured out a jigsaw box and am standing amongst the pile of pieces, a sand timer swiftly trickling by my side.

I seem to be the exception to a well-known rule. Often when people are stressed they find it hard to be creative or to air out their ideas. I’m the opposite. It is in the last week, when I’ve been running around trying to make things, decide on tech, buy last-minute props and actually complete the performance that fascinating new ideas have sprouted from the deepest depths of my mind. This last week before the showing is going to be stressful – I have no doubt about that. I will be trying to fit in a million and one things. Not because I wanted to leave things until the last minute, but because my brain decides for me when to have an idea that actually works – very frustratingly!!

So, I have a plan for the next couple of days. Surround myself with these fragments of text and ideas and allow them as much time as possible to air out. In hope that my mind will solve the puzzle with as little complication as possible and leave me just enough time to organise everything else! That’s the plan!

Hush Now My Darling is part of the Starting Blocks Showcase on Sat 19 March. FIND OUT MORE