Street Training Hoxton Rocked!

Submitted by Lottie on Wed, 2010-09-22 11:45

Street Training Hoxton, part of the Urbanism program at Hoxton Hall, Theatre went down well. Sessions began at the theatre and followed a route, through the local streets, worked out by the company of actors, dancers and improvisors.
The company are
Hannah Buckley
Jan Lee
Jessica Andrade
Julia Seifert
Kate Sandison
Patricia Morejon

Produced by Phillida Cheetham, who also participated
Dramaturgy Imogen Butler-Cole

Scene One - Outside the Theatre
We met, gathered and were introduced to Aditi who is seven years old from whom we recieved initial instruction in how to make creative and joyful use of the streets. Aditi demonstrated how to use the paving stoned for hopscotch - audience/participants were encouraged to attempt this, many did. Other techniques Aditi demonstrated were taking a cardboard box discarded by a dustbin and using it to jump over, in a special way with a hip twist. She also demonstrated and had us try running back and forth along the stretch of pavement infront of her parent's shop and Hoxton Hall. Kate introduced us to some old and fairytale like doors, some one previously noticed that children some times press on the numbers on the buzzer panel as a robotic voice speaks each number when pressed. Participants began ringing the bells and eventually contacted someone in an office above to ask them either what the time was or what they did this morning. Each time the person talking throgh the panel was friendly. We headed off down the street, (pausing to dance to the music coming from the barber's shop)sometimes to duck into an alley, swinging on the scaffolding and making percussion on the bars, electricity box and other detritus. During one performance we came across a vintage mini and were invited to see how many people could squeeze inside, about 10 were inside when a man in yellow shorts cycling buy leaped off his bike to engage in the challenge. eventually 11 people inside and 2 draped over the mini was the max we could achieve.
Across the road two men packing up their market stall obliged when Julia asked them to make their tarpaulin into a hammock for her and rock her, they did so laughing and perplexed. Jess placed a cardboard box on her head and other's followed suit as there were many left from the market. A game was innovated where people would try to get along the street guided by another person making animal noises. Once a man grabbed one of us and was dancing and being a bit scary.

Scene Two
We gathered in the empty space next to Juilet House to do a game where pairs take it in turns to keep their face level with the moving hand of their partner- this was demonstrated by Patricia and comes from Augusto Boal's theatre of the Oppressed. Then Kate said we had o hide and we ran and ducked down behind cars, signs and trees. It took a few instants to realise that we were hiding from passers by, on one performance this resulted in making friends with a group of boys of 7 or so who came along with us and showed us how to have more fun. Some of them had roller blades and demonstrated rolling down the slope that leads to the garages under Calaban House, they showed us lots of things we could climb on. A resident of Caliban House threw an egg at one of us, we noticed that the elderberries on the tree were totally stripped, maybe some one has already made jam. We lay down on the grass for a while then got up to find that an abandoned mattress had been by bins of the student accommodation. People had already dragged it out and were bouncing on it, they boys showed us that we could climb on the low wall and jump onto it from there. Passers by were bowed to, runners running past were joined for a short way and then we found the clothes recycling. there were loads of clothes so we smelt them and they were clean so we put them on over our clothes.

Scene Three
Two actresses lay down on the pavement and had a nap. We approached the bikes locked outside the student accommodation and made them into an impromptu orchestra, tinging the bells in rhythm and clapping. The vibe became quite mellow and a few people who passed by stopped to listen. It was early evening and the street lights came on when we clicked our fingers. The bollards made a good balancing and some people crouch on them to become gargoyles. passers by joined us in doing this. In a yard infront of a first floor flat there are two cherub garden ornaments which we used as the back drop to a shadow puppet play. During one performance a group of local teenage girls stopped and were horrified and entertained by what we were doing. They met us with confrontation and humour and we met them with humour and interest. They became part of the group and said that they do things like that but that its weird to see adults doing it. We approached the zebra crossing and crossed it using silly walks, this developed into all kinds of techniques for crossing the road ranging from cartwheeling across to bowing and motioning to the cars to pass. Patricia wrote"
Waiting on Pitfield street, waiting for something to happen, letting my next action be driven by... cars. Waiting to cross the road, cars are nice, and stop as soon as they see me standing. I wonder how many times do we stop when someone is standing on the street. The cars stop but I don't feel like crossing. I'm waiting for... something to make sense. I feel bad, I make them stop for nothing, I wonder what they think about me, "she's having a laugh"! Not so funny. The way they stop when I'm just waiting on the edge of the pavement, without even having put a foot on the road, makes me feel they have a genuine kindness, maybe, cause it's the end of the day, everybody is more relaxed and ready to let go some time? So I start crossing the road as they stop, cause I want to thank them, and I feel not moving would now become insulting... I have a slow inner rhythm that evening, so I cross slowly... And as they get it, they press the accelerator and pass me over. Hopefully I'm going slow, so there is almost no danger! But it is agressive, and I feel guilty. I wonder what could I give to them while I'm crossing so they don't change their respectful attitude... I have no answers... Later on, when I'm home, someone tells me I was being selfish, taking a space and a time someone gave to me without taking in consideration what was the driver needing... Hum... Yes... It makes sense... But then I think, what if I had been an old person, naturally slow, would they have reacted the same way? Why do they just assume I can be fast?" On the last leg of the route we rolled along the walls, climbed up the walls and on one occasion sang a lullaby to a woman and her baby another occasion we seranade a young man in his flat. We ate elderberries from the tree and Phillida gave people receipe's for elberberry jam. We popped into Barry's shop to ask for Barry, found a broken Barbie bike outside the pub and rode around on it. We played kick about with a bottle top with passers by, danced and played hide and seek with a little boy looking out from the window of a hairdresser's. Patricia had found a toy motorbike and wanted to give it to a passer by, she offered it to a man walking past who said he didn't want a motorbike - he wanted a car, then another man refused too, only the first one turned back to take it from her and thanked her. I went into Olive cafe to collect the Pizzas they had made for us and we went back into the theatre, sat down and collectively pieced together the story of what happened. Scene One"We met, gathered and were introduced to Aditi...

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