Starting Blocks week 4

On the Run and Owl Young spoke to us about how they’ve been getting on in the rehearsal rooms, ahead of the Starting Blocks showcase on 29 March.

David and Hannah from On the Run have been working on their project Kate. “A coming of age story about young love, punk music and trying to help someone get better” Here’s how their week has  been:

Hannah and I are making a show about a relationship I had when I was fifteen.  It was the first time I’d fallen in love and I was wildly, passionately, (nauseatingly) in love with this particular girl.  But I spent a lot of time struggling with the fact that she had eating disorders and sometimes self-harmed.  Here’s how we’ve been getting on in rehearsals…

The show is about experiences I had when I was a teenager.  In lots of respects, it’s been a pleasure to revisit that time because, generally, I was pretty happy.  We’ve been digging out the records I listened to – mainly raucous ska punk – and they still sound great.  We’re trying to use some of it in the show, although it can be hard to keep up with the riotous shouting and thrash drumming!

I’ve been reading my teenage diary, which is horrific. It seems amazing that I didn’t know at the time how much I sounded like Adrian Mole.  This morning, I found ‘poems’ scrawled in the back pages.  (‘Over-written’ doesn’t really being to cover it.)  What’s remarkable is the sheer intensity of emotion.  Two out of three sentences end in an exclamation mark.  I use the word ‘WOW’ excessively.  The pages are a riot of capital letters and emphatic underlinings, veering in an instant from euphoria to rage to utter banality.  This resonates with my memories of that relationship.  Joy.  Worry.  Fury.  Frustration.  Repentance.  Love.  Joy again.  Often, all before 8.45am, when school started.

We’re lost in the middle of all that right now, with a ska punk soundtrack of power chords and trumpets in the background.  We are looking for the right form to express that feeling.  That time when, according to my diary, all I did all day was FEEL.  We haven’t found it yet because we’re still lost.  But lost is often the most exhilarating part of the process.

This is a video of my favourite ska punk band, Lightyear. They were great.


Owl Young describes his piece Iron M.A.M as “an exploration into the undiscussed world of drone warfare and why Iron Man might just be the perfect metaphor”. Here’s what he’s got to say:

Hi, my name’s Owl. Yes, like the bird. Let’s just get that out the way.

This Tuesday I made the greatest discovery of my theatrical career. I synched my PS4 controller to QLab on my laptop. If you’re not as geeky as I am, what that means is I can now trigger any video or song in the middle of my performance, from anywhere in the room. It’s like when Neo figures out how to read The Matrix at the end of the film. Ok, it’s not quite like that, but I could now show you that clip without ever touching my laptop.

This is my roundabout way of explaining that I’ve been working with tech this week. The story I’m writing is heavily influenced by technology, and I’ve been looking for the most appropriate ways to tell it. Operating the tech of the show myself is one way of doing that.

I do want to make a quick shout out to the other artists on the programme. Four hours rehearsing alone in a basement is enough to drive anyone insane, so having a chance to discuss the madness every Monday is a wonderful privilege. A lot of my tech experiments have been inspired by suggestions from the communal feedback – so thank you, guys.