We check back in with Cassie and Reena from Cape Theatre and Rebecca Biscuit to see how the development of their shows are progressing. You can catch these works-in-progress, along with four others, on 29 March as part of the Starting Blocks showcase.
Reena and Cassie from Cape Theatre catch us up to speed with We choose to go to the moon, which they’ll be presenting on 29 March alongside 5 other Starting Blocks artists:
We are now three-quarters through reading The Charisma Effect. And we’re starting to see that the book is written to encourage its audience to work on traits they already possess to simply heighten their charisma. The idea being that WE ALL HAVE IT! Good news!
We are starting to put some of the instructions from the book into action. Our personal favourite is about walking into pubs and being more aware of our actions and parts of our personality that we want to showcase. It’s amazing to see which personality traits people are drawn to and what people are suspicious of.
We have been focusing on the question of authenticity and learnt behaviours and how this relates to our charisma experiment. It’s brought us to think about organic material and improvisation – which is making its way slowly into the performance. We want to allow authentic charisma to develop – if that’s possible, of course.
It sounds a bit of a mouthful at the moment; we’re still getting our heads around it. It’s been a great process for us so far and we’re really enjoying having the opportunity to take full advantage of rehearsal space and using CPT as a place to simply sit and think. The cafe has become our new office space! The other members of Starting Blocks have been amazing and someone is always at hand when we get wrapped up in questions and need a third opinion.
We’re excited to see where the coming weeks take us.
Here’s how Rebecca Biscuit has been getting on with the development of her piece, Oh Baby, five weeks in to Starting Blocks:
I turned 27 the week Starting Blocks began, which was the same age my mum was when she had me, her first child. When she gave birth back in the 80s, the doctor told her she was a bit old to be having her first baby (any pregnancy over the age of 27 is medically classed as a ‘geriatric pregnancy’). I’ve never wanted kids, and am beyond grateful for free contraception, to be able to make the choice not to have kids and easily.
Despite not wanting children, turning 27 has made me think (obsess) over pregnancy, over contraception, abortion and access; over the history of how women have wrestled for control over their own biology; over the weird things we used to shove up our vaginas to avoid getting pregnant. I’ve spoken to loads of mothers my mum’s age. I thought they might be reluctant to share details of their pregnancy and births with me, but it turns out the time you were ripped in half sort of stays with you and you do want to talk about it, even if it was 30 years ago. I’ve spoken to friends my age across the world, some of whom want children and some who don’t, some of whom have access to free contraception, some of whom have to pay a lot of money, or buy it online, or sneak it into the country. I’ve spoken to my friend who is a neuroscientist about how mothers love ugly babies less. I’ve spoken to my mum.
We have about a month left of Starting Blocks and I’m at the point now where I’ve got to make some decisions about what to present. I’m wrestling with how to do these stories justice whilst not being overwhelmed by an obligation to them. So many women across the world still do not have access to contraception, abortion or safe places to give birth so I am also wrestling with that fact my research is based on women who do (does it highlight the problem or hide away from it?) It’s really helped having the other Starting Blocks artists to talk to about this. This piece is definitely going to be a work-in-progress when I present it! I’m used to working in a duo and talking to myself in a rehearsal room is a strange feeling. I have no idea whether or not anything works!
You can catch Rebecca Biscuit and Cape Theatre’s performances on 29 March at the Starting Blocks showcase.