So I can’t believe it’s already six months since we showed the results of out research and development period of Can you hear me running? at the Park Theatre and the Pleasance. We certainly needed time to reflect after, as well as collate the invaluable feedback that we’d gathered from the audience. We also had to send the Arts Council the Evaluation. Also life stuff carried on, work, family, other jobs coming in…Christmas. So it seems like the right time now to re -visit. Here are just some of the responses from the showings.
- I think it has universal themes , a woman going through life changes, I liked the projection, the sound, childhood memories and death of Dar very strong and moving. I love the idea of giving a voice to women who feel like they have lost their voice, their place for whatever reason.
- Lovely interplay between music and story. Projections really subtle but provide wider context. Incredibly moving, gripping, passionate performance
- The play tempered raw introspection with anecdotal humour and balanced well the ethos, pathos and logos. Cathartic and empowering.
- I related to the idea of losing the thing you develop your identity around.
- It shows how we can take our voice for granted and also crucially how our vocal chords are such a fundamental part of our lives.
There is still a way to go with the project though, and as much as the reaction to it was positive, we identified key aspects of the play that still needed to be clearer, such as the element of running in the piece and what it really meant to me when I felt all was lost with my voice. We’d still also like to explore how running really affects you chemically and mentally and how we show the physicality of ‘running’ on stage. Running on the spot, strangely enough, doesn’t seem to really express the form of running well and actually some of the moments of stillness when ‘talking’ about running worked better. Lots to think about. Have to say, it was pretty terrifying to spend an hour on stage, alone, hoping not to bore the audience senseless with what felt like at times a very narcissistic project but my nerves quietened down after the first five minutes and I enjoyed being on stage again, entertaining, or trying to!
So now we’re onto round two and midway through our next Arts Council application to hopefully get the show up and running in the Autumn at a central London Theatre venue for at least a three week run. It would be great to open it up to the public and get a wider audience in and use our contacts with Voice specialists and running community to help that.
I was just thinking the other day how sport has woven its way into our piece and how many similarities there are between acting and being a sportsman or woman. Both take skill, willpower, physical strength and endurance. You can’t just run a marathon and you can’t just walk on stage and bash out Hamlet without substantial preparation. I mean, you can, but you’d be reading from the script on stage, exhausted by the second scene and at mile ten in a marathon you’d have lactic acid overload and probably be sick, or pull or strain a muscle.
Talking of which, I’m doing a half marathon this Sunday, but I doubt I’ll be going over any Shakespeare I’ve done in the past, but I will be concentrating on pacing myself and making sure I stretch out the night before. It was five years ago that I completed the London Marathon in 4hrs 30 but my body feels like its’ changed’ and a few niggles have come in with this lot of training. It never feels like ‘a breeze’ but I’m always glad when I can enjoy the aftermath ( again like acting) and that rush of serotonin that come with doing challenging things. I’m also raising money for a cause close to my heart, JDRF the Juvenile diabetes research foundation so achy legs aside I’ll be thinking of my Dad who I lost to the disease years ago and also my niece who suffers with it. With long training runs behind me now, thanks to my amazing friends and co runners, I should be ready, and then once that run is over, we’ll be clicking SEND on that Arts Council Application again to hopefully get Can you hear me running? ….a proper RUN! Wish me luck on both counts. I’ll need it.
Louise Breckon Richards