Welcome to Porto2009.

This is the begining of our journey on the road of Porto2009. And the blog will give us the opportunity as a group to reflect on the work in which we have done within the sessions. We will keep you posted regarding the process we are making along the way.....



Jasmin Vardimon Company

Friday, 15 May 2009

Post Four Nicole Dixon

1. As the creative process turned from the 'V' stage to the 'P' stage of devising, and Porto started to come together as one cohesive performance, what were the common themes and issues that were beginning to emerge through the basic fabric of the piece? Despite the individual journeys, what shared experiences tied the community together apart from their state of liminality? Discuss with clear and succinct examples. (300 words)

Throughout the devising phase of Porto many different themes began to surface. But it was not until the Performance stage, where the dominant themes were highlighted and become stronger. Something which emerged and it was very hard to deter from was conformity. This was evident from the start of the Performance. Despite every individual entering Porto with their own story and journey they need to take. The first Ensemble piece is a clear example of how easy communities conform; with the majority of the community performing synchronised movements. Although there was a sub-group who originally went against this, they were soon overwhelmed by the majority and conformed also. This may not have been genuine compliance, just the need to seem to belong. This notion of conforming in order to belonging became very apparent throughout the performance. This psychological issue has a strong substance in both Porto and in real life. This is clear through Edward’s character. His character will conform to society to belong, but under the surface he is very bitter and mocks society, as seen in his Parade with Roxanne’s character; and when he wants to know to contents on Lauren’s bag. But it isn’t until the society go against him in Ensemble two, that his realisation sets in that he needs to belong in order to gain acceptance and without this acceptance he is nothing and has no-one. To some people this may not seem like real life, but in reality, if you deviate from the social norm, you are seen as an outsider, and seen as not to belong.

“In a simple society people belong to relatively few groups, each of which is then quite important in defining the self. The collective self flourishes in adapting to these memberships, and the need to conform to the group tends to stifle the private self.”
(Lerner & Millon, 2003, p344)

Which leaves us to question, are we ever really ourselves?

2. Critically evaluate the transition of Porto as the ensemble moved from the studio into the theatre space. What were the strengths and weaknesses of this phase and process? (400 words)

“I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone is watching him, and this all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.” (Brook, 2008, p11)

Porto is not a space, Porto is a place. The transition between the studio and theatre was only made difficult by ourselves. If the ensemble remembered that Porto was a place then I think the transition would have been a lot smoother. ‘How the space is organised and structured for performance is part of the developing process […]’ (Oddey, 1996, p17)
For me if anything moving into the theatre space was the best thing for my character. Whilst being in the studios I could only visualise what Porto looked like, as I felt I was on the journey there whilst being in the studios and developing the piece. So in terms of characterisation, I was very much guessing how my character would react when I finally reached Porto. When we got into the theatre I found it very easy to adapt because I felt I had found one destination in my journey and felt my character had found another layer of herself, whether that was a good thing or bad thing. I settled quite comfortably into Porto.
‘Not all decisions that are made in making a piece have completely thought-through reasoning behind them. Intuition and personal preferences come into it too.’ (DV8, 2008) When we moved into the Theatre space a lot of new growth occurred this was both a strength and weakness for all. New relationships were formed; original relationships grew apart, characters developed. For some it was due to being in a new space and just having to adapt to the new, but for others it was actually finding Porto and realising what they truly needed in order to grow and developed their own individual journeys. I found that relationships I built up in the studios were lost in the theatre. Some people could see this as tragic, they have lost the connections with people they have spent so long building them up with, but for me again, I saw this as growth, I might have thought I needed these people in order for me to develop through Porto. But in actuality I didn’t. When we reached the theatre I realised the people I needed and wanted to share my journey with.

3. Critically evaluate the growth of the performance over the three shows, with particular emphasis on your own role within the piece. Did the RSVP model continue to apply even at this final stage of the performance piece? Discuss with concrete examples. (500 words)

Even before the final three shows I was very dubious about the strength of the shows, especially the Thursday evening show as we had a matinee performance as well as an evening performance. The cast had already proven to lack in concentration and drive in other rehearsals. But I have to admit that each show every cast member went into it a fresh, and with as much energy if not more as the previous show.
Each show for me was completely different, with my character continuing to grow throughout each. The first show for the first time throughout the whole devising process, and rehearsals within the Theatre; I found myself very emotional I found myself crying whilst Sarah P was doing her walking sequence over Sandy’s scene. Something inside of me felt so torn at her walking away from me, and every time she looked at me, I could see the hurt in her eyes and eventually I couldn’t even look at her, because I was hurting so much inside. Some people believe that ‘such an “emotion” cannot be expressed; it can only be induced or simulated.’ (Hjort & Laver, 1997, p122) But as my character was and extension of myself, I consider this to have been an innate emotion surfacing from within.
After each show we were given feedback on improvement, so that in itself allowed the performance to grow more, as each person was given something to work on. By each person taking on their feedback and converting it positively into their role, allowed the performance to grow considerably each show. For my character I had built up such a strong relationship with Sarah that by the end of the third show I was depended upon her and I felt I needed her to support me, and lead me out of Porto. With each show after my section we both built up the strength and confidence to push away our bags, but by the end of the third show I detested so much my bag, what was inside of my bag that managed to cause me so much pain, and what it represented, that after I took it off I couldn’t bring myself to touch it again. I felt that the one thing that was holding me back, if I touched it again I would never be able to get rid of it. So Sarah had to push it away for me. After my section in the periphery I couldn’t even bring myself to look at Sarah, she had managed to hurt me so much without even realising. When she hugged me, she wasn’t just hugging me she was holding me. This was due to the intensity built up between our characters, even though we had both reached similar points in our journey through Porto we now relied upon each other.
Although in the final performance stage, the RSVP model still applied throughout, as the performance continued to change. Different elements effected the growth of the piece ‘[…] there's the interplay of ideas and meaning between all the people involved, including the audience. It's an exploration that continues even after the show is made.’ (DV8, 2008)



BROOK, P. 2008. The Empty Space London: Penguin Modern Classics
HJORT, M & LAVER, S. 1997. Emotion and the Arts Oxford University Press
LEMER, J. M & MILLON, T. 2003. Handbook of Psychology: Personality and social psychology John Wiley and Sons.
ODDEY, A. 1993. Devising Theatre London: Routledge.

Other Sources
DV8 (2008) FAQ [WWW] Available from: http://www.dv8.co.uk/faqs/faqs.html#one [Accessed 12 May 2009]

Last Blog<--- Antoinette McCook

It’s evident that the piece of performance was dependent on the built up on relationships, how they form break and blossom. The relationships were catalysts for individual expression and with each rehearsal and run characters became more involved within the liminal space, revealing more about themselves and there journey within Porto. A key example of this would be Amy James and I at the beginning of Porto, our characters were very reserved and perceived as the lonely character. There was minimal expression or urgency for communication. However, it is interesting to note that all internal feelings have been expressed through the body to attract further communication. Since the beginning the characters have developed immensely and it is hard to image that these characters have become ones of great expression. This communality, complimented the piece as it echoed the idea of being trapped in a place, the apprehension of trying to escape(or in this case communicate). This as well as the group as a company, reinforced the idea of people standing alone on a personal journey, but once they are forced together they are forced to share all, transforming into a community. Of course there were those that didn’t conform to the conventions of Porto, such as Blake for example, his character wasn't internal in fact it didn’t the very opposite, Blake's character showed a lot of expression but the language wasn't meant to be understood. Blake's characters almost had a rebellious conformity, in the sense that he communicated, but the communication was used more as a weapon, for those to be fearful of. Which of course would endower no one to interact with him, this was the case for majority of the piece, but as always in every community abnormality attracts someone.

I was hard to separate the movement that was done in the studio compared to what was expected in the Arena. The studio became a recognisable place, one that made those comfortable and once the piece was to ‘live’ in the Arena an unfamiliar place, it had different affects for some. Some really inhabited the environment taking risk and used it as an apparatus to explore and push themselves to their limits. Although one the other hand, it became a obstacle for others, one that made them stick within their conventions which they were demonstrating within the studio. It does seem that from an outside perspective, the company as a whole ensemble, really absorbed the space, using corners and height to add an edge and burst of energy to the piece. The Arena became the new home for Porto which breathed new life and experiences for the piece. Performers often found new things about themselves and others that they didn’t discover before. Resulting in new ideas relationship to evoke. As much as this can be a exciting experience, it can also but those at risk of making too many developments, ones that are not necessarily true to the character, loosing the richness and individuality of the character. In contrast to this, the new space also offered Porto the opportunity to become 'new' again, to have the same apprehension it first had when Porto began. Almost re -leaving (whether conscious or not,) the performers of an mundane environment, forcing them not to become mechanical in performance. On a profession note, it made the process become more real, and less like a task set to do for the classroom, it steered the company into gear, preparing them for a professional way of working. This allowed those to experience the amount of effort and dedication that is needed to run a performance. Overall there are possibly more pros then cons when thinking about the space Porto inhabited by allowing a change it unleashed chaos that was strangely productive. "Chaos is a necessary aspect of devising, not at least because truly creative makes us of chance"
(Callery,D 2001)

The shows were very productive and it was evident as a performer within the piece, that the piece evolved with every rehearsal as well as the showcases. The first performance felt very rewarding, the energy was so intense that is was clear people were attempting to show their skills. For me it was a chance to show my development and experience within Porto. It became more than just a task for University, or a part that I played within a piece of theatre, from that moment on, my character became someone I had to live and really step into the shoes, skin, joys and pains in order to communicate a clear understanding to the audience of the characters purpose. The drive was that the performance had no speech, so my body was my mouth for that time I was on stage which meant accuracy was important in convey meaning to the audience. My character came to life out of no where, for her it was just one moment with David and Gina playing with the Bible and necklace that stimulated her to become apart of the moving community. Since the 'R' and 'S' part she hadn't reached her climax within Porto but 'V' and 'P' is when her vocabulary grew within Porto. The experience has been much like a rollercoaster when thinking about the character and I and it really seems more like an achievement that she was able to feel comfortable in expressing herself. Porto wasn't somewhere she wished to dwell but there had to be a compromise of what she wanted and what the whole ensemble wanted to achieve once this was balanced she was able to lay herself down to audience. I was completely emotionally attached to the first show and found myself crying coming away and wondering what is was I was crying about. It was from this performance, and even the way in which we were trained to warm up,(pushing that extra bit more) taught me that the performances ahead would have to be better than the last, regardless of how well the performance went. It was this encouragement that I used in order to fuel my energy throughout all the performances. For me I thought the second performance wasn’t as good as the first, but the delivery of the performance was much smoother. Performers grasp the space, timing and engagement a lot more than the first time. I had moved on since the first performance, throwing m self onto people in the hope they would catch me, climbing frames, within the space, and tumbling down the stairs. These risks didn’t shock or make me in doubt at the time, it wasn’t until I came off stage I realised the reality of it. I felt pleased that I was disengaged from my character once I had left the stage. The last performance really left an impact on the set it self, it was almost as if we the company wanted to leave its mark within Porto.

Callery,D.Through the Body.(Nick Hern Books;2001)pp164

Antoinette Mccook

Final blog - Marie HArtland

Once Porto came together as a performance piece many themes became apparent. The whole community shared many things, the main example being united by arriving in the strange unknown place and their journeys. The main themes that I picked up on through Porto were those of trying to be accepted by others, being wanted and helping others. Lauren’s character for example, was constantly trying to be accepted and liked by pretty much everyone within the Porto community. Her character may not have succeeded with certain other characters but this not stop Lauren, all her energy and determination was apparent during the ‘showdown’ with her, Anna and Edward – which involved her craving for attention and belonging. There were many other individual journeys which also included these themes. Overall, as a community, the characters all shared feelings of anxiousness, frustration and in some cases fear. The majority of us all entered the unknown space together and didn’t know what to think or expect. This was apart from Blake. His character was stuck in Porto, and knew no different. He needed the help from others to help him let go of what was holding him back – represented by the suitcase. Despite this, Blake’s character still shared the feelings of anxiousness and frustration with the rest of the community, just for different reasons. The community were split from being a whole when Blake’s and Nicola’s characters were introduced. Other members of the community were intrigued, scared or interested in these two characters that obviously didn’t fit in with the rest of us. Although we were then split into sub groups, we were still united by the unknown – and whether we chose to accept and embrace this journey or to try to make it more difficult for ourselves or others. Our ensemble work represented us all being included within the community whether we wanted to or not. The use of the repetitive movements and the fact we all got more restless as it went on represented this. Even though the smaller group tried to be more individual at the start, the community and space of Porto was too strong and they then couldn’t resist joining the community and being united with them in their sense of fear, frustration and exploring the unknown.
Some members found it quite difficult to adjust to the performance space once we moved from the studios to the Arena space, I being one of them. Motionhouse Dance Theatre makes a point of “constantly experimenting with the performance environment” and I now understand why this is necessary. The main change was the amount of space we had. Although we had more depth and floor space, it was much narrower to the space we had within the studios. It didn’t change the work itself, we just had to adapt to not being as close to each other within the periphery. At first, I felt very fragile whilst working as I was used to being much closer to the other characters but the change in space meant we did have much more room to work whilst in the periphery. A negative aspect of this was that we had to almost limit the amount and style of the work, so as to make sure we didn’t detract from what was happening centre stage. Murray and Keefe state that; “True theatre is made in the moment in the performance space, without rehearsal or script...” (2007, (pg. 80). Although we already had the basic fabric of our piece, we were able to build and expand on our work once we got into the theatre space. We now had access to stairs, a podium and pillars within the space which we incorporated into our work. Another thing I felt difficult to adjust to was the floor. As I was so used to the floor in the studios and the floor of the Arena was different, it took some time to adjust to. When working in the periphery, the floor at the back was textured and quite painful at times to kneel on. It became apparent then that we had to work with a sense of greater lightness as it was easy to hear footsteps and landings if they were done heavily. Once we got into the performance space, I found it much easier to stay focused and in character. Whilst in the periphery, it was obvious we were all on show to the audience. The feeling of exposure was more so as we could all be seen by everyone in the audience. This was beneficial in my opinion as the focus was immense, and the work became much clearer and detailed due to the high level of focus. The characters personalities, intentions and storylines also became clearer. On disadvantage of the level of focus was that we also had to take into account the technical equipment such as lanterns and wires. On a few occasions, the level of focus was so intense that this was forgotten about and caused the lights to be moved or injuries to happen such as banging heads on them.
The performance grew and became more intense as the shows went on. Once the first show was done, we all felt more confident whilst performing and the nerves subsided. For me personally, it is hard to remember the actual performances at times as I was so focused and into the performance that I blocked everything else out. This was particularly true in the periphery work. I had to rely on the music cues to know when my characters were to perform centre stage. Whilst working in the studios, it was difficult to focus 100% at times, but in the actual performance space it was easy to get lost within the work. For the first show, my character stayed as before and I felt it was just like a routine performance. After the second show though, I was quite shocked and emotional as my characters intentions had changed. Whereas before, my focus was to separate Blake from the suitcase, during the second show my character was actually absorbed by the force and power of the suitcase itself. Rather than saving Blake, I was more concerned with the suitcase itself and felt a genuine fear about it. The way I felt after the performance was that I was in some kind of mental hospital and the suitcase was almost a figure of my imagination. I think the reason for this shift in my character was because my focus increase and the performance intensified. I was no longer thinking about my characters role, intention and story – I was just responding to the suitcase, as well as Blake and Amy and I felt at that time. The third show also reflected this, but this time I wasn’t as shocked by the transition of my character. I was more aware and just let my actions speak for my feelings. Other characters also seemed to become more intense in their actions and wants, but I also noticed some characters became more confident. As I worked so closely with Blake and Amy, it was rare that I was aware of what other characters were doing. Despite this, in the second show David approached me and attempted to look in the suitcase whilst my character was building up the courage to open it. This had never happened before, and when it did I became protective over the suitcase. My character knew that it was only I, Amy and Blake who could do anything about the suitcase and felt that David’s character was intruding on something personal. The ensemble work also became clearer and controlled as the shows progressed. We all added the sense of frustration and worked as a community, and once the end of the final show had come we all felt somewhat emotional that the journey was over.
I think RSVP did continue to apply to the performance. We were still constantly researching into our characters roles and discovering new things – even within the performance itself. An example of this is the slight interaction with David. I’d never had any contact with him before this point, and because I did it made me more aware of other characters after that point. Although new music wasn’t added to the performance piece, I used the music to help me keep track of where in the show we were as my focus was completely on my own interactions.

Murray, S and Keefe,J. Physical Theatres, 2007. (London Routledge)

Final Post - Lauren Walker

1) As the ensemble transitioned from the Validation stage to the Performance stage indivually and as a group we had issues. The personal issues I encountered within Porto were that I both needed and wanted, love and attention from the other members of the community. Sometimes I would receive this love and attention for example from Gina’s character but that was short lived when I stumbled across Edward’s character who found enjoyment out of my misery. “Our bodily relation to society is explored, in terms of both our placement within the structure of society and the longing to find some sense of true definition beyond that realm.” (Climenhaga, 2009, p.91) As well as our own individual issues, the ensemble as a whole encountered numerous group issues. Some of these include love, hatred, conflict, self discovery but the main issue that brought us together in the end was the fact that each and every one of us was waiting. Waiting in a world where none of us really knew why we were there. Waiting for something to bring us out of the rut we had let ourselves get into, whatever it may be. What reflected this feeling of waiting was the movement we performed as an ensemble, the opening scene sticks out for me when discussing this issue. It was the first time the audience saw us a whole and cohering with each other, and with the particular movements executed they in turn portrayed the idea of us waiting, together. “It is not just what each successive image says about the underlying structure, but how they infect and affect each other, creating a web of sense.” (Climenhaga, 2009, p.124)

2) When it came to moving from the studio and into the theatre space it allowed Porto to really come to life, it also allowed us as characters to get a more meaningful understanding of our environment. While working in the studio we didn’t really have the opportunity to fully understand our surroundings which were going to be used in the performance, what we were able to do was to get a grip of our characters with both hands and know them inside out. Because we already had a great understanding of our characters it was just the matter of getting use to our new environment. The main problem that occurred was the use of the periphery; it changed a lot when moving from the studios into the theatre space. Even though we had a lot more space to use when doing the periphery work it was a challenge to keep it low key, what I mean by this is that we had to alter our work in such a way that it didn’t obstruct the main action but also didn’t take the audiences focus again from the main action on the centre stage. Another problem faced when altering the periphery work, we had to make sure that even though we weren’t upstaging the main action we were still 100% in character and all throughout the performance we were building on our characters story until the very last moment when we leave Porto. When reflecting on the transition, personally I didn’t feel there were any major strengths and weaknesses just minor issues we needed to adjust which we all knew were inevitable when creating Porto. I believe that we only encountered minor issues purely because as a group we managed to connect so well, so if we were having problems we were able to overcome them because we all understood what each individual was experiencing.

“Being fully open to other actors is not simply a matter of creating pleasant working relationships. You must be able to work as an ensemble to tell the story moment by moment.[…] Eye contact is a crucial ingredient, so is a heightened sensory awareness of others in the space.” (Callery, 2001, p.88)

3) After performing in the afternoon on the Thursday that initial anxiety of the first show had gone and I personally felt as if I could go on and truly enjoy the idea of performing a show I had worked so hard to help create. While that being said I didn’t think that when it came to the evening performance (on the Thursday) some of my interactions would be altered. The way in which the interactions were changed closely follow the ideas of theatre company Theatre Machine and their idea of “throw-away” theatre, where in which if something happens in one show it doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the next.

Theatre Machine’s method of working depends on very close mutual support by all performers. Timing is one important example: if something threatens to flag, for instance, the actors on stage are dependent on one of their colleagues taking the responsibility of entering and changing the direction. They must all be highly sensitive to each other and to what is happening, totally ‘present’ and alert, prepared to support each other and not ‘block’. (Frost and Yarrow, 1990, p.58)

Even though we believed to have completed the RSVP model, we really hadn’t it was still present throughout the three shows, and this was because of the interactions forever changing. While saying this, that some of the interactions did change it can’t be said that all interactions were changed. If that was the case we wouldn’t have the solid structure that we went into the theatre with. Reverting back to the RSVP model, personally I was still using it in both the Thursday evening performance and Friday evening performance. There are two clear instances when this occurred for my character. The first one was my interactions I had with Rian, all throughout the process of Porto I never had a connection with her character up until the Thursday performances when my character felt the need to ‘rescue her’ from the struggle she was having with Sean and Kelly. My character felt the need to help her in her quest to steal Sean off Kelly, although my intentions were cut short and Rian only wanted me for my bag, I kept the connection for the two other shows which were the Validation and Performance stages within the model. The second instance was the interactions I had with Antoinette, even though I had minimal interactions with her during the process in the studios they came to life during the performances in the theatre. And by doing so it gave my character more depth and more of a reason to be where I was at that specific time, where as before I was just standing there because I needed to get to the other side of the stage.

Overall I didn’t really think that the process would still be on going when we entered the theatre, but Im glad it did. It opened up a new found enjoyment to my character.


Callery, D. (2001) Through The Body A Practical Guide To Theatre Nick Hern Books Ltd.

Climenhaga, R. (2009) Pina Bausch Routledge.

Frost, A. and Yarrow, R. (1990) Imrovisation In Drama The Macmillan Press.


Final Post - Daniel Smith

As the process of Porto moved from the validation stage to performance stage each individual character had idividual journeys, some which were shared and others which weren’t. Each individual member within Porto had different issues for unknown reasons, whether this was entering the space or working around the periphery.
Because Porto had 38 individual members each character had a different want or need. For example my character enjoyed seeing people suffer from their misfortunes, this changed drastically towards the end of the piece because it became clear that the most important thing in life is love and attention from others. However compared to Lauren’s character who wanted love and attention throughout the piece and was a fragile member to the Porto community.
Porto as a community had clear issues which were shared between all. The main themes within the shared community were waiting, conflict and self discovery.
Climenhaga states “people on stage are expressive in and of themselves, and as they exit physically within the performance arena, and that arena is constructed through the overlapping of metaphoric images that unearth deeper structures of feeling.” (Climenhaga, 2009, p.90)
Despite our individual journeys there were a number of sections throughout the production which tied the community together. An example of this would be when the community came together for the first time and delivered a series of 4 movements which was then followed by another series of 5 movements which the community executed in synchronisation. This showed the audience that although we are individual characters we were still tied into a community as a whole and therefore showed that we were all tied together in some way or another which was not yet apparent to each individual.
Towards the end of the piece during the last ensemble section it shows the community as a whole once more, however Nichola’s character is the only character who remains onstage at the end of the piece, this shows that even as an ensemble there are some characters who feel the need to be separated from the rest.

As Porto moved from the studio space to the arena space we were sure to encounter various problems before we performed the first show. The main problem which was shared as a whole was the periphery interactions. At first the space seemed much smaller which instantly told us that the interactions we had created within the studio space may need to be cut or altered in such a way that it did not hinder the audience from watching what was happening centre stage. The interactions were kept to a strict minimum to prevent the audience getting too caught up in this work.
However each performer needed to make sure that they were always in character and not becoming a spectator of the story unfolding, this is because “an actor who looks at the floor is uninteresting. […] But in order to do this s/he has first to really ‘see’it.” (Callery, 2001, p.79)
Once we had moved into the arena space our first rehearsal was the technical rehearsal, for some members this became tedious because we were required to be in positions for the beginning and end of each scene so that we were able to work out different sound and lighting cues which enabled the piece to run smoothly when performing to the public. I would not look at this as a weakness but neither would I look at it as a strength because after a short amount of time the group understood that this simple task would allow a smooth final performance.
In the arena we had lanterns which were at eye and foot level, this took a while for some of the performers to adjust to the obstacle but managed this easily once we had worked in the space for a short amount of time.

Because the arena had a larger depth it also had a built podium, stairs and bars at the back of the stage which allowed many characters to develop even during performances, this helped my characters development because I had the ability of using many levels which developed new interactions.
Frost and Yarrow state “The actor’s skill is to fill his space, to inhabit it fully: to be there totally, in the moment of performance” (1990, p.100)
With new interactions being developed the space needed to be filled but not over crowded again to prevent upstaging the main scene.
Finally, I believe the groups attitude towards Porto changed drastically once were in the space, performers took a more professional persona during warm-ups and during our final performances which allowed us to give the performances we had been training for.

During our final performances Porto grew and developed at the end of each show and the beginning of the next both physically and emotionally. During each show the group amplified and exaggerated emotions from one performance to another even in font of an audience.
The RSVP model continued to develop even through the performances of Porto which still remained in the devising process.
My character developed drastically through the devising process but continued further development during every production. At the beginning of Porto my character felt lonely, distressed and unsure of what he wanted to do with his life within Porto. However this changed and became apparent that my character still remained lonely but took enjoyment out of watching other people and their misfortunes. From the first production of Porto to a live audience my character had not developed. However in the second and third performance of Porto my character began to make small interactions which then became amplified throughout each show. An example of this would be my interactions with Wakar. In the first show my character did nothing but glance over at this strange being, the second show they met and actually shook hands and began building a bond between them. In the third production my character and Wakar shook hands and embraced into a hug which remained for about 10 seconds before letting go and reassuring him that I would be there for him. I believe this to be a huge character development through the ‘V’ and ‘P’ stages of Porto.
My gestures turned from internal emotion through to physical emotion, this was difficult because I had problems expressing externally.
Lecoq states “The face, the hands and the body display feelings, passions and dramatic states, presenting to the observer behaviours patterns natural to the person’s character, behaviour revealed by situations such as anger or fear.” (2006, p.16)
When we were told to visit our most climatic point within Porto this allowed my character again to revisit and develop more interactions with people who I had never interacted with before, another example would be when I intimidated Antoinette during our photo section walk and around the periphery during the shows. I still believe that my character was afraid of being lonely all the time therefore development happened within the performances to ensure that this did not happen, again I found this through periphery work and through interactions which were found during the warm-ups before performances.
Warm-ups were a big part of my character development and other people’s development, as a performer you could see progression through each character and development amongst the group.
Since my first initial letter into Porto and through the devising process my character never stopped developing until the final end of the last show and Porto had finished. Within Porto other people’s characters also continued to develop and it was clear to see how characters had developed since our first rehearsal and material development.


Callery, D. (2001) Through The Body A Practical Guide To Physical Theatre Nick Hern Books Ltd.

Climenhaga, R. (2009) Pina Bausch Routledge

Frost, A. and Yarrow, R (1990) Improvisation In Drama The Macmillan Press

Lecoq, J. (2006) Theatre of Movement and gesture Routledge

Posted By Daniel Smith

Final Blog - Edward Critchlow

As the creative process turned from the ‘V’ stage to the ‘P’ stage of devising, and Porto started to come together as one cohesive performance, what were the common themes and issues that were beginning to emerge through the basic fabric of the piece? Despite the individual journeys, what shared experiences tied the community together apart from their state of liminality? Discuss with clear and succinct examples. (300 Words)

Throughout Porto many themes and issues started to become apparent. Looking at characters individual journeys there was a visible theme of desire and obsession. From my own character, my initial desire was to see what was inside of Lauren’s bag; which shortly became an obsession. At the end of Porto my characters desire was to be loved and forgiven by Roxanne’s character due to the actions that occurred between mine and Lauren’s character. This idea of desire was also visible between the characters portrayed through Kelly, Rian and Sean; the girls desiring for his love. This theme of desire for love was also seen through the characters journey between Amy James, Sarah Evans and Gavin. Again, desire was also seen in Mikey’s characters towards Ellen’s, as his desire was to get an emotional reaction out of her. Lauren’s characters desire was to be liked or possibly even loved by all members of the Porto community. Other examples of desire were seen between Gina and David’s character and through Hannah’s character towards my character. ‘Who a character is will determine how he gets what he wants (his intentions). The social and physchological specifics of he space and circumstances will influence the action’ (Dennis; 2002: p.g.29).
The one shared experience between the ensemble that tied the community together was the theme of anxiousness, loneliness and the sense of the unknown. Upon entering the Porto space for the first time; although we were not entering the space at the same time, this gave a clear understanding o the sense of unknown that each character had upon entering the space. The other signs of the communities shared experiences were seen in the opening and final ensemble pieces. With the entire ensemble eventually doing the same repeated movements; this allowed the ensemble to join together and share the same feelings of confusion, anxiousness and frustration, while feeling trapped within the Porto space.

Critically evaluate the transition of Porto as the ensemble moved from the studio into the theatre space. What were the strengths and weaknesses of this phase and process? (400 Words)

The transition between the rehearsal studio and the theatre space bought up clear strengths and weakness. Upon running the show in the theatre space for the first couple of times, the sense of unknowing in the entrances for each of the characters were actually real because each character were entering a new and for many people an unknown space. Another strength that arouse from moving into the theatre space was the size of the performance space. As the depth of the theatre space was far greater than that of the rehearsal space, this allowed more freedom for the performers to ‘expand’ the work. However, although the space may have been a strength, it was also a weakness, as many performers didn’t use all of the theatre space when on the periphery. Also, with the wide open space of the theatre, as all stage curtains were pulled back, so all areas of the theatre space were visible, which allowed no hiding places; therefore all performers, that were on the periphery, were in constant view and had to be performing at all times. The idea of all areas in the theatre space being visible, was paying respect to the ideas created by Motionhouse Dance Theatre Company as they ‘are constantly experimenting with the performance environment’ (Motionhouse Dance Theatre http://www.motionhouse.co.uk/about.htm 2009).
Another weakness of moving from the rehearsal studio was the fact that the ensemble were leaving their comfort zone. This, many may see as a strength, but when you have been working solidly for 6 months in one rehearsal studio, it becomes a very scary thought of leaving your rehearsal space. Another weakness of moving to the theatre space was the idea of sight lines. All of our work had to be moved back, as members of the audience would not be able to see the floor work, an idea that was not a worry in the rehearsal studios. The biggest advantage of moving from the rehearsal studio to the theatre space was the space. Working in the rehearsal studio meant there was a lot les space to experiment with the periphery work. Working in a smaller space creates ‘a servire restrict[ion] [in] the time and training space’ (Zarrilli; 2002: p.g.92).
I also believe that moving into the theatre space made the cast of Porto realise that Porto was a real performance; so the cast started to take it more seriously and the performers became even more focused on the work.

Critically evaluate the growth of the performance over the three shows, with particular emphasis on your own role within the piece. Did the ‘RSVP’ model continue to apply even at this final stage of the performance piece? Discuss with concrete examples. (500 Words)

With each performance, every element of the performance grew. For myself, the main element that grew with each performance was my emotional connections to characters during the periphery work. Because my character was left by my only friend within Porto, my desire and sheer desperation to get Roxanne’s character to forgive me and to come back into my life grew throughout each performance. During the first performance, I felt my work was at a 90% level of desperation towards Roxanne’s character; however by the end of the performances run; I felt as though I was working at a 99/100% desperation level. With my breathing gaining in pace and starting to shorten in intake of breath, this was both a visual sign and an emotional feeling of my desperation. This grew every performance, even to the point where I felt as though I was going to faint by the amount of oxygen that I was taking in. However, working at a 90% level made me realise that I had to push it further as ‘the actor must be able to sustain the physical feeling (the body, the mood) at all times’ (Dennis; 2002: p.g.27).
The performance also grew over the 3 performances due to the different audiences at the performances. Because with each performance different levels of emotional intensity were given, this affected the initial rhythm and pace of the performance. ‘Arriving in front of [an] audience for the first time is difficult…finding a strong beginning enables the Jo, Ha, Kyu of the whole play to get off to a strong start’ (Oida & Marshall; 1997: p.g.33). Jo, Ha, Kyu is a ‘rhythm structure’ (Oida & Marshall; 1997: p.g.31). This rhythm, I believe, is affected by the audience that is in the theatre at that performance. This is why waiting in the wings to enter the theatre space and never leaving it throughout the performance, as Yoshi Oida and Lorna Marshall state ‘you must ‘smell’ what kind of audience you have that night. Then you can react appropriately. Even before making an entrance […] you should try to sense [the audience] (Oida & Marshall; 1997: p.g.84/5).
I believe that the ‘RSVP’ model was defiantly still working throughout the 3 performances, as new things were being found, developed and refined each night the ‘RSVP’ was in play, we just didn’t realise it. At the end of the performance, when we left the Porto space ‘the moment of clarification for the audience’ (Tufnell & Crickmay; 1990; p.g.196), I was left alone by Roxanne’s character; while at the same time Gina’s character had been left by David’s character; we then by accident make eye contact, something I tried to avoid; along with physical contact, throughout the performance. It was, at this point, I felt as though I was looking at an identical copy of my character, a mirror image. From noticing we both feel the same way, we embraced; something that only came about the rehearsal before the opening performance.
From being in Porto, you realise that the RSVP model does work even if you don’t realise it, as the performance is ‘constantly changing […] new movement by new movement […] no two performances are the same. The precise moment you are seeing will never be repeated again. (Oida & Marshall; 1997: p.g.33).


Dennis, A. (1995) The Articulate Body: The Physical Training Of The Actor. London. Nick Hern Books Limited.

Oida, Y. & Marshall, L. (1997) The Invisible Actor. London. Methuen.

Tufnell, M. & Crickmay, C. (1900) Body, Space, Image. London. Virago Press.

Zarrilli, P. (2002) Acting (Re)Considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide, 2nd ed. Oxon. Routledge.


Motionhouse Dance Theatre (2008). Warwickshire: [Home Page] [cited 14th May 2009].


Monday, 11 May 2009

Gina Dobrovic, Assessment 4

1. As we moved from validating to performance stage, many themes and issues began to arise, some shared. Every character visibly has issues, even in entering this strange place. Everyone is anxious and apprehensive for one reason or another. As the piece unfolds, we begin to see common themes emerging such as loneliness, not fitting in, the weight of the past or people coming together through Porto and interacting with others.
Porto contained other issues like characters wanting something from someone else. For example, my character was always striving for David's attention, and also Edward's later on in the piece. A character such as Lauren appeared to want kindness or love from other characters, yet always wanted what others had. She always approached people to take something from them, like David’s bible and my pearls. Sarah Evans’ character wanted Gavin to be with her. Daniel was causing people misery and their sadness became his entertainment.
I think the biggest theme is the sense of the community in Porto. The ensemble work, like the start and the end reveals an intense mutual feeling amongst this group of people. Vincent Dance Theatre claim to “make devised work as an ensemble and place great emphasis on the personal contribution [and] individual physicality…” (Vincent Dance Theatre http://www.vincentdt.com/artistic-policy.html 2009) and we have done the same. The characters in Porto cannot escape the community and are trapped in the same movements. As much as we have this sense of community, there was also the theme of people not fitting in such as Nicole, Sarah Pierpoint and Natalie. Many people felt it was part of their character not to interact with anyone.
However, the shared experiences we have as an ensemble did tie the community together. The first ensemble work we did was a series of movements being performed at the same time. This shared experience shows how we are all stuck in our ways, and we as performers can feel that energy, tying us together. Nicola’s entrance onto the stage was another shared experience, creating the same feelings with all of us. The scene where we approach Blake is another part of Porto where we all worked together and reacted similarly. Another example would be the end of the performance, where everyone apart from Nicola gets to leave the space, and this very intense feeling presides over the community.

2. I could not wait to get into the theatre space. I felt prepared and eager to leave our studio. Somebody warned me “do not get too excited”, and they were right. We had some complications in the Arena, but it was to be expected. The thing that affected me the most was the periphery appeared to be smaller. Many of the interactions I had created were cut but it is understandable-we all knew we would create work that would not reach the performance. Phillip Zarrilli agrees that in a smaller space “actors might be severely restricted in time and training space, only machine movements…might be practiced.” (Zarrilli, P: 1995, p.92)
We had other problems such as technical rehearsals, and many people found it tedious going over the same thing more than once. I do not count this as a weakness though; technical rehearsals are there for us and to make our performance go as planned! This also meant that there were obstacles such as lanterns in the Arena which were easy to move by accident, but it just took a bit of precision and getting used to.
Moving into the Arena meant that we had to clear finer details such as who moved furniture for the next scene. I think this irritated many people because it is such a simple task. Yet the thing to remember is that there are 40 people performing in one space, and this means that things cannot always go to plan. This also meant that some instructions were missed or not followed properly, and this is a weakness on our parts. If 40 cast members remained quiet and listened, then this would not have been a problem.
With all this aside, the Arena was bigger in depth. This provided us with more freedom as we were provided with stairs, bars, and pillars-lots of things that we could build our interactions on. My interactions for instance changed a lot once we got into the arena-I became a lot more adventurous and took more risks, although I felt slightly limited with space. However, when I read that Motionhouse Dance Theatre Company are “constantly experimenting with the performance environment and creating dance in unusual contexts - for parks, beaches, shopping centres and stately homes alongside more traditional venues.” (Motionhouse Dance Theatre http://www.motionhouse.co.uk/about.htm 2009]
The lights, the setting and the music all put together gave Porto so much more meaning for many people. I feel some people began to take Porto more serious when it dawns on you that you are about to give a public performance. We are being given the opportunity to do what other actors do and perform in a real theatre. I also think that this gave many cast members more focus, especially on warm ups. Being provided with the trust to perform our material to real audience members feels like a huge privilege.

3. Over the three shows in the Arena, Porto continued to grow and develop. The emotional intensity seemed to amplify once we had an audience. We had the added issue that we were never going to get to visit Porto ever again, so we all put our all into the performances. The second and third show contained many tears backstage waiting to run on for the last time. Porto has been a huge part of everyone’s lives over the last year, a place we go to every week, our place. Because of this, the performance continued to grow and change. During the last 3 shows, the energy became bigger, as did our emotional input.
My character especially, began to grow more than ever this last week. This was not my intention, but it happened. My characters needs and thoughts began to morph into something much more confident, and found myself needing somebody more than trying to be alone. This only happened over the last 3 shows, and the Validation phase was still happening all the time. DV8 Physical Theatre Company describes that:
“Not all decisions that are made in making a piece have completely thought-through reasoning behind them. Intuition and personal preferences come into it too. Then there's the interplay of ideas and meaning between all the people involved, including the audience. It's an exploration that continues even after the show is made.” (DV8 Physical Theatre http://www.dv8.co.uk/faqs/faqs.html#one 2009)
My exploration consisted of growing into a character that wanted to interact more, and wanted attention right until the end. The fear of taking my past with me dissolved, and I began to look towards my characters future.
The first show, where I felt the impulse to hug Edward became the most intense part of my character. During the exercise where we were asked to visit our most intense section in Porto, being left by David and finding Edward was that. As I turned around, having being left alone, I saw Edward being left by Roxanne, completely grief stricken and it was like looking in the mirror. We saw each other at the same time and just ran at each other. This then became the cue for the music to come on, so it just felt extremely right, and I had experienced this part of Porto that I never would have seen. My character felt so sad to be left and so alone, and then this person who had worn a mask for the whole performance, felt the same and needed me too.
I also built interactions a lot with Lauren, when we had never interacted up until the rehearsal before the Arena. Only in the 3 shows, did Lauren become a huge part of my character, and it fell into place perfectly. All these things were missing, and I never knew all along. Porto was teaching me things right up until the end, and is still teaching me. Ultima Vez explain that Wim Vandekeybus starts from “the conviction that life is very complex and chaotic and that in spite of our efforts to make sense of it, it remains a place beyond our understanding, over which we have no control.” (Ultima Vez http://www.ultimavez.com/ 2009)
In my first letter describing my character, I came to the realisation that my character was accidentally reflecting my own life. The answer I have been given from Porto shows me that I should never worry about fresh starts, and taking baggage along with me is okay too. An experience I will never forget.
DV8 Physical Theatre (2008) [online]. London: [Home Page] [cited 11th May 2009].
Motionhouse Dance Theatre (2008). Warwickshire: [Home Page] [cited 11th May 2009].
Ultima Vez Company (2008) [Home Page] [cited 11th May 2009]. < http://www.ultimavez.com/>
Vincent Dance Theatre (2008) [online]. Sheffield: [Home Page] [cited 11th May 2009].
Zarrilli, P (1995): Acting (re)considered: Theories and Practices: London: Routledge.

Gina Dobrovic, Assessment 4