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Hatching Plans In Seville

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Wed, November 23, 2016 03:24PM

Last week we (well, Jess. Sorry Eo and Nick) were lucky enough to run away to Seville to hatch plans and bounce around ideas with the production company Boom Shakalaka (alongside a couple of wonderful, down-right inspiring, independent producer / makers).

We stayed in the extraordinary Corral Del Rey, a meticulously restored 17th century palatial home, buried in the belly of the old quarter. Clean lines and statement features, sink-in sofas and an ice-cold plunge pool. AKA an incredible place to talk and think and talk and think (occasionally pressing the reset button with an impromptu dunk in the water).

It was a beautiful, hilarious, exhilarating trip. But most importantly, for me, it disrupted my routine. It took me out of the everyday, leaving space for chance encounters, new perspectives and unexpected trains of thought.

Of course an invitation to a glorious location is a rare treat, but .dash strive to disorientate ourselves a little whilst making all of our shows. “And Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out” started life on a train trip, “Beware! Falling Ox” was thrashed out on a long, drizzly walk, a lot of the script for Passing Phase was written in a quiet corner of Wimpy.

The few days in Seville shook up some exciting possibilities, that we hope will come to fruition in the coming months. Watch this space.

As usual, I kept a notepad at hand throughout. Reading back today, this excerpt feels the most appropriate to post:

“Groggy from last night’s heady, I walk to get lost. Gasping counter intuitive turns, filling my lungs with the consequences. I watch the town wake up. The streets are hushed, my clip-clop heels a brash reminder that I am an interloper. I should have worn flats.”

(Photo courtesy of the instigating, organising, motivating wonder, Gemma Cairney.)

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Passing Phase

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Wed, November 02, 2016 02:49PM

The first outing of Passing Phase took place at Dreamland, Margate on the 23rd September 2016. We were astounded by the response. All the tickets went for the first performance in a couple of hours. We had to up the capacity and add another two performances. Even so, all the tickets went in a couple of days. The audience were lovely and we were delighted buy the reaction to the show. We are keen to re-stage it, fingers crossed we’ll have news on that soon! The photographs below were taken by the very talented Jason Pay.

Passing Phase could be seen across town, transforming Margate’s skyline. People watched from the beach, people watched from the block of flats behind Dreamland (camera phones flashing from the windows). Perhaps our favourite moment was clocking the kids who watched our rehearsals from the car park, skateboards momentarily abandoned, noses pressed against the fence. They gave us a thumbs up, we gave them a thumbs up.

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DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Tue, September 06, 2016 05:42PM
We are delighted to announce that we are in the midst of making a new show: Passing Phase.

The show is being supported by Margate Festival and will be performed on the big wheel at Dreamland at the end of this month. It is about order and chaos and circles. It is influenced by comics and Carl Sagan, fair-grounds and Steve Reich.

Here are a few snaps from our experiments so far.

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Lift Music

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Thu, June 18, 2015 10:38AM

We have been continuing to prod at the borders between punk-rock and theatre, blurring boundaries and pulling shapes in the space between.

In particular we have been working with Ray Gun, a band that Jess sings in and Eo plays bass in. Theatrical elements have been creeping into Ray Gun gigs (dictaphone recordings, ball-gowns, readings from 90s Point Horrors, synchronised party poppers), so we decided to broach the relationship head-on: binding the two together and bundling them into a lift.

As part of Looping The Loop, the festival Jess co-produces, we performed a gig in the lift of Turner Contemporary. The gig lasted the duration of the lift ride (32 seconds). The gig did not start before the lift doors closed and did not continue after they had re-opened. It only existed in the liminal space between the floors. However, whilst in that space it was as raucous, as messy, as immediate as we could muster.

We were particularly taken with the small boy who took the lift five times (insisting, of course, his mum covered his ears), before declaring that we should always be in the lift. We were also delighted to hear about the experience from outside of the lift. A clattering, pulsing, hidden box moving through the building.

Exuent deemed the performance "Muzak by way of Napalm Death’s SCUM, played up close and personal". Which, I think, is exactly what we were hoping for.

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Wedding Dress Shopping

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Sat, September 06, 2014 04:03PM
Yesterday we performed our first scratch of "Exit, Pursued By A Bear" (more on that in our next post). I played a bearded lady. Specifically, a bearded bride. The day before yesterday I bought a wedding dress on Northdown Road for £15. There is something quite depressing about buying a wedding dress from a run-down charity shop in Margate. The three older ladies behind the counter, however, were very excited about the purchase. Every time one of them spoke, the other two would repeat the phrase - back and forth, back and forth - like a bouncing ping-pong ball, petering to a stop. ("Oh, isn't it lovely?" / "Isn't it? Lovely." / "It's lovely." / "Lovely!") There was then invariably an awkward silence before someone retrieved the ball and set it bouncing again.

I told them I was not getting married, that it was for a show and that I would be coupling the dress with a beard. They did not believe me. Each adjusted the angle of their head, drew a collective breath and continued clucking their prenuptial advice: "You'll have to not eat for a week! That's what brides do." / "Will you bring us a picture?".

Meanwhile a man in his late 80s looked delighted with his spoils, cutting ahead of me to pay for two copies of The Wombles on VHS.

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Poetry Is For Everyone

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Mon, August 18, 2014 09:12AM
I (Jess) have been spending the summer working on the Art Beat Project at Turner Contemporary. I have been working with 13-19 year olds, across a range of disciplines, alongside a sculptor, a dancer and an electronic musician.

We have all been blown away by the work the young people have created, bravely rising to any challenge we present them with and running with it (Us: "Want to use electronic circuits to make an orchestra out of fruit?" Them: "Sure!", Us: "Want to devise a dance piece around a dictaphone recording you just made of your improvised poetry?" Them: "Absolutely!").

Personally, I was particularly taken with their work on the "The Cut-Up Method". So much so, in-fact, that we are planning on using the technique in our new piece, currently referred to as "Exit, Pursued By A Bear".

The technique was founded by Dadists, popularised by William Burroughs and has been adopted my numerous artists since … David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Thom Yorke... It resonates nicely with our love of framing accidents, shining a spot-light on mistakes (see "Beware! Falling Ox").

Here's a little explanation of the technique and a poem; Nirvana splintered and pressed with a recipe for Onion Tart. (Bukowski with a speech by Winston Churchill was another favourite.)

"Text is cut up and re-arranged. The cut up method brings to writers the collage which has been used by painters for fifty years. And used by the moving and still camera. In fact all street shots from movie or still cameras are by the unpredictable factors of passers by and juxtaposition cut ups. And photographers will tell you that often their best shots are accidents . . . writers will tell you the same. The best writing seems to be done almost by accident but writers until the cut up method was made explicit-- (all writing is in fact cut ups. I will return to this point)--had no way to produce the accident of spontaneity. You can not will spontaneity. But you can introduce the unpredictable spontaneous factor with a pair of scissors. The method is simple. Here is one way to do it. Take a page. Like this page. Now cut down the middle and cross the middle. You have four sections: 1 2 3 4 ... one two three four. Now rearrange the sections placing section four with section one and section two with section three. And you have a new page. Sometimes it says much the same thing. Sometimes something quite different--(cutting up political speeches is an interesting exercise)--in any case you will find that it says something and something quite definite. Take any poet or writer you fancy. Heresay, or poems you have read over many times. The words have lost meaning and life through years of repetition. Now take the poem and type out selected passages. Fill a page with excerpts. Now cut the page. You have a new poem. As many poems as you like. As many Shakespeare Rimbaud poems as you like. Tristan Tzara said: "Poetry for everyone." And Andre Breton called him a cop and expelled him from the movement. Say it again: "Poetry is for everyone.""

William Burroughs

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Mermaids & Memories

DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Wed, July 23, 2014 02:37PM

I have just got back from a roundtable discussion on theatre at the Turner Contemporary. It was hosted by the Clod Ensemble, Maddy Costa and FUEL (who I am working for), ahead of their performance of "Red Ladies" at Theatre Royal Margate.

After a lively discussion on audience engagement (my personal favourite comment was one woman's call for theatre to be a bit less structured, more akin to a gig: "[Traditional Theatre's] a bit too static for me. I'm sat in a chair, I have to stay sat in a chair and keep my mouth shut. I like the intervals!") we began discussing performances we had seen in the area.

An older local resident recalled going to see a show at Tom Thumb, on a freezing December night. Halfway through the show she was asked to leave the theatre and fight through the blizzard to a band stand, to witness a mermaid - complete with tail and shell bra - singing on the cold ground. She was then invited to dance in the snow. "Years later" she said "I can still remember the music, I can still see that image".

At this point I nervously admitted that I had been the mermaid. Asking people to stand facing the Cliftonville sea during the coldest winter of recent history had not always been popular.

Her face lit up.

"I can't believe it!" she said. "It was incredible. As you get older you can't keep every moment, so you find memories become cameos. That show, you, are a cameo in my life. It will always stay with me."


[For anyone interested the show in question was "A Dreamland Sideshow Christmas", our first show at Tom Thumb. It was directed by Timothy Trimingham Lee, designed by Kat Heath and featured all of .dash alongside Frankie Jordan and Duncan Wilkins.]

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DiaryPosted by Jessica Jordan-Wrench Mon, April 21, 2014 08:07PM

This weekend we were delighted to curate and host the Looping The Loop launch party, (in)habit.

Perhaps we should put party in inverted commas; as although it was a lot of fun (and featured dancing) it was not your typical shin-dig.

(in)habit was a noisy, messy, shambolic evening of live art, music, installations and interventions in a huge out-of-use cinema opposite the Turner, Margate. There were .dash performance pieces, VJs, DJs and skate ramp (backed by sound responsive projections).

We hope (in)habit will become an itinerant event, moving between (the many) out of use buildings in the area – a creative, resourceful and sustainable use for buildings at risks.

Huge thank yous to the lovely folk that made it happen: Andy Barrett and his team at The Match Rooms, Rob Hart for playing live, Kat Heath and Emily Barnett for DJing, Hang 10 for lending us a skate ramp, Phil and co. for skating said ramp, Fontaines for transporting said ramp, KCC and Looping The Loop for funds and support, Emrys Plant and Tom Swift for creative live poetry sculptures, Mark Dumbrell for crystallising a tree, Rachel, Becki and Ryan for their invaluable help on the get-in/get-out, our awesome audience ... and ... especially YOU (the lovely individual we have stupidly forgotten to name-check).



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