January 21st 2012
I've decided, after many years of experience, that the artistic process is made up of, and has to be made up of, four C's (or the forces, perhaps) - control, chance, compromise, and chaos. Of these, compromise is the hardest to accept, but there are so many factors such as budgets, schedules, egos, time, well so many things involved in compromise. But I guess it is best to start with a lofty picture of something to aim for, and then achieve what is practically possible, even if it is only a fragment of that original idea. I can't think of anything on which I have not had to compromise - but that word itslef sounds like a failure. It isn't. It's just about making all the elements work. And actually, out of some compromises come some surprising creativity. I think my style, of very theatrical fluid spaces, has come out of not being able to afford to have more literal spaces. And now I don't ever want to deal with truly literal spaces or storytelling. And thankfully animation and theatre are neither of these.
These musings have been prompted by my production of Sherlock Holmes. I had such lofty ideas, but the realistic practicality of it all is that we are an amateur company and the way the theatre is run necessitates very limited time on stage with the combined elements of cast and crew. That a production happens at all is amazing, and is totally due to such dedication from some people, and many unreasonable hours from others. Our audience have little awareness of the fact that most of the people they are watching have day jobs and complicated lives, and this is in effect, a hobby. It's not a hobby for me though, and I should remember, as I push people out of their comfort zone (cripes, I hate that expression) that they are doing it for pleasure. But the collective we have produced a rather extraordinary set that belies our amateur status. I would be surprised if any other such company could come up with an image like this. It has had an overwhelming amount of Barrification. I'm not sure the audience will notice that most of the several hundred books scattered across the set all have something to say about Sherlock Holmes - well certainly the ones in view of the audience do. The metaphor of the creative process is certainly there for all to see, with the Conan Doyle characters, quite literally, exploding out of the pages of the books. And what is amazing is that it looks exactly like my set model. In our tech last night I did have to make some adjustments - a few things did not work, or we did not have the time to spend to make them work. If we can get the slickness, with all the elements of stage, lighting, sound, costume, and cast coming together at the same time, we will certainly have a show unlike anything seen at the Garrick for a while, and happily a show that bears no relation to how it was done at the Library or in London or on TV. I could wish for a stronger plot, but I think the audience, if they come along with our theatricality, will have a satisfying evening. A very visceral evening with all the senses tickled. I hope. Let's see how the two runs go tomorrow. But full marks, to the cast and crew, who have worked so hard and have coped with me wanting so much.
And the series, well that has occupied every other inch of my poor overflowign brain. The twelve episodes I have in my head is about to be increased. But it's getting so exciting, as sets, puppets, props and costumes appear. I'm frustrated by not having an office yet, but any day now. I can't wait to get filming.
A confession now - both Tchaikovsky and Plume had managed to get on to the BAFTA shortlist, but did not make the final nominations. The confession is that I am disappointed, and fear that may have been my last bite at that cherry, let alone a bigger cherry. I think that world, the world of the big players, is eluding me, and retreating very quickly. I am thrilled to be doing a series (heck I just love working) but it would have been nice to have disappeared into the world of television production with a little gold face behind me. Ah well....