I love visiting Charlotte’s house. It’s a charming red brick with William Morris everywhere and there’s three cuckoo clocks in the back room? Cuckoo cuckoo!! They go every hour. So if we’re trying to capture something like a video we have to watch for that hour. Tea, cake, fruit, musical instruments, puppets, flowers, cherry tomatoes, Jumbo the dog, two cats, roast lamb, my friend Nick (Charlotte’s son) and an elevated view, fills the place with light.
Charlotte reads some of her beautiful old books that she has collected from her time as a librarian. We talk about a fisherman’s story… probably not, because it cycles around and around and it’s sorta boring. What about a pancake story that Charlotte made up?? ‘I even made a wooden pancake that you can roll around and flip. It’s in the workshop out the back’ or ‘here’s a shadow puppet theatre I made yesterday with an edging of my mother’s 70’s skirt.’ or a Mozart’s La Violetta underwater themed theatre box or farm animals in an orange box theatre. Charlotte seems to be very organic with what she is doing.
When I was very young, she would tell me stories… about an old Christmas tree in my back garden under the pear tree. She would sweep down the side of the house on her little bike and props to tell the stories.
Charlotte tends to have an idea about something that is present before we meet together. Usually she will share it with me and I will get a feeling about the music and that will then inspire her narrative approach. So it’s very collaborative…one story is a Fairy Tale with spells and magic… I saw forests, cages and castles I heard Folk music. And because of the spells, the music could be quite hypnotic.
Naturally Cello has a certain presence, particularly in the scene of a Scottish Folk tale that we are workshopping. For this specific story, we are envisaging a more minimalist poetic style narrative, that breathes with the Cello.
I would not like the music to not be too dominating. Sometimes it’s there unnecessarily and really, Charlotte’s voice would work better on its own. Other times I become a bit absent underneath the narrative voice so I need to think on the spot about how I can shift things to remain engaging without drawing too much attention to myself.
I like it that each story in the show has its own mood. I’m not used to weaving music with a speaking voice that is consistently present. – Particularly an expressive voice that changes pace with the direction of the story. It is a fine art, to be subtle and thoughtful while accompanying a narrative.