Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Jessica Lucia Andrade: Brownie Club - The performance

I applied to Arts Council for two weeks R&D for a director and myself to work on my ideas for Brownie Club. And I got it! 
So for the last two weeks I have been playing with lots of ideas and story lines. We worked through a physical time line and an emotional time line of ideas and feelings of what being brown is like? Also asking questions about identity, what makes me Indian? Where do I fit in society as a British Asian and  more specifically a British Goan. 
We worked on ideas on and around the silk, working with it technically and working with it as a piece of fabric, and storytelling devise. Vicki Amedume (my circus mentor) came in and helped with the movement pieces on the silk, the tone, timing and flow. Allie Ho Chee (another aerialist) came in to help choreograph and so I could see what it was like up in the air. 
We worked on my relationship to the silk and physical movement has always been my escapism. We recorded me speaking about gymnastics, dance, school and growing up in Essex. I wrote a list of questions I get asked all the time and worked with Composer Jon Whitten to make it into a song. We like it so much we showed it at the scratch. We came up with so much material that we will develop for the full length show.
For the scratch performance we showed a silk sequence of joy, juxtaposed with a voice over of me talking about being bullied in dance class. Then Jon played some joyous music while I danced on the silk. 
The next section I was rhetorically asking the audience "Am I a shit Indian?" and using examples pros and cons. 
The third section was the song of questions I get asked all the time, which was done in a cheesy musical style as some of the questions were quite offensive we wanted  to create a lighter atmosphere and show how ridiculous the questions were. 
The fourth section was - The Brownie Club guide to surviving drama school, which was performed on the silk and used 10 examples I experienced through being a British Asian at drama school. I ended my scratch performance by speaking directly to the audience about what the Brownie Club was and why I created it.

I really enjoyed performing my piece and felt a good response from the audience. It was amazing to part of the British Asian Festival  and showcase some of my work. Thank you Rifco! 
I will be developing the full show later this year, watch this space! 😉

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Sumerah Srivastav: Bollywood Rose - One week to go

So two and a half months later after numerous meetings, heated creative discussion, writing, rewriting plus the distraction and gluttony of christmas, we finally have a musical extract that - dare I say it - everyone is happy with!

Holly and Pravesh have done an amazing job in casting for our piece and Ajay and I are super excited about meeting and working with these amazing artists in the rehearsals next week in anticipation for it's public presentation on the 22nd to a capacity audience woohoo!
It's going to be a nail bitingly big workshop with 4 cast members and 3 musicians. What could possibly go wrong?? Don't forget to look out for the nervous writers at the back :)

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

British Asian Festival: Scratch performances - Rifco Associates

Friday 22 January 2016, 7pm, The Studio @ Watford Palace Theatre

Free event, book online:

15 minute scratch performances of new writing by four Rifco Associates from the theatre company’s artist development scheme.

Bollywood Rose by Sumerah Srivastav & Ajay Srivastav

Bollywood Rose follows the story of Nikita, a self-confessed 'dutiful girl' until she meets the man her parents want her to marry. Unable to voice her unhappiness and desperate to escape Nikita stumbles into the worst possible place - a romantic Bollywood movie.

Brownie Club by Jessica Lucia Andrade

Aerialist Jessica presents a physical comedy exploring how it feels to be a brown woman in Britain.

Salvage by Amarjit Bassan

A confident teenager is forced to question his role as the family saviour after his wayward brother unexpectedly arrives at his school.

Dragasauras by Yasmin Whittaker-Khan

A story of three British Asian drag queens all at different stages of their Drag life who are planning to start a club night in London.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Sukh Ojla: Gravesend Project - Rehearsals & Sharing

There were two days of rehearsals set aside for the sharing. I was lucky enough to work with two experienced actors, Narinder Samra and Sheena Patel. The rehearsal process was even more more useful than I had imagined.  After the initial read through of the play it became much clearer to me what I needed to work on. Even though I created the characters, and being an actor myself it is easy for me to imagine them and what they sound like, having actors read the lines really bought them to life. The actors improvised around the scenes and were briefly hot seated. I got a much better idea of the characters objectives and it made me think about their foibles and more detailed nuances in dialogue.

Following the first day of rehearsals, Pravesh and I met to discuss how to develop the script. I made some adjustments to the script. I spent the evening and the next morning re-writing parts of the script. It was hugely useful to get feedback from Pravesh, although frustrating because I wanted to rewrite huge sections of the script and add scenes but unfortunately due to the time constraint this wasn't possible.

The next day we met in the afternoon to read through the latest version of the script. I made some minor changes to the script. The actors were left to make themselves familiar with the script.

The sharing in the evening was attended by fairly large number of people. I was understandably nervous. I felt that as the writer, there was a lot responsibility on my shoulders to make the experience an enjoyable one! Thankfully, the response as overwhelmingly positive. It was heartening to speak to members of the community afterwards who were excited to know what would happen next with the play. 

I spoke with Pravesh after the sharing and we were both pleased with how it went. He advised me to continue writing and to send him a completed first draft as soon as possible.

More about this project: Sukh Ojla - Gravesend Project

Developed by: Rifco & The Woodville
Seeded by: Greenhouse

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Jessica Lucia Andrade: In the studio creating my piece

Today we focussed on the linear progression of my piece and incorporating the stories I have and putting them up in the air!

Towards the end of the day I showed what I had to Pravesh, who was extremely encouraging. Now I need to focus on the script so that I can easily work with the movement.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Amarjit Bassan: My own own personal Dramaturg

I had a telephone conversation with Louise Stephens, the Dramaturg Rifco assigned to me. As well as being really lovely she gave me some excellent suggestions. I had only worked on screenplays till now and so the general rule I had followed said that you should have a clear plot outline before you write. I had been quite fixed in that process.

Louise suggested putting my characters in different scenarios (past, present and future) and seeing what would happen. How would they react? What would make them tick? It was really quite liberating. It really helped as I began developing a back story. 

A week later and I have produced the first draft of my scratch piece. Let's see what Louise thinks...

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Amarjit Bassan: New ideas

I met with Pravesh today and we spoke about the outline for my story. He sensed (quite accurately) that it wasn't the strongest story I could write. As this shall eventually be my first play he wanted something from my heart, something that means something to me, something that only I could write. If I was honest with myself, perhaps I did look at all of my ideas and think "Hmm, I have all of these ideas but this one...Rifco would probably like this one". 

Despite me working hard on perfecting my pitch and story outline, there was a sense of relief. I marched off promising two new ideas. But I knew which one I wanted to start on.