Tag Archives: performance poetry

Stephen writes: How to layout your poem for the Technical Script.

14 Feb

When we put on shows for Mouthy Poets we are usually provided with a technician who has never been to a Friday session. Whilst members of the group may be familiar with how the show is coming together, what it is about, who plans to do what; the technician will be largely unversed in the set-up of the show. They may know what we need (e.g. a smoke machine) but they don’t necessarily know when and where it is needed. As they will be sat in the tech booth on the night pushing the buttons as the show goes on, it is vital they have as clear a picture as possible of what we want and what they need to do. With this in mind, we create the technical script.

The technical script should map out each poem in its entirety as clearly as possible: staging, lighting, dialogue, etc. Obviously, if your performance entails very little movement or technicality then the script will not be too complex, but it is still important to get the little that you do have in there. As you are e-mailing your final drafts to publishing@mouthypoets.com tomorrow we also ask that you send your poem – formated into a script – to production@mouthypoets.com, too.

Please write your script in Times New Roman and include YOUR NAME AND POEM TITLE IN UPPER CASE BOLD SIZE 14YOUR TECHNICAL NOTES IN RED UPPER CASE SIZE 12YOUR STAGING NOTES IN ITALIC SIZE 12, and your script in standard size 12. If you are unsure of the definitive staging you will use, please leave line breaks at relevant places so that these can be written on by hand once the script is printed.

As an example, here is the scripted version of mine and Cleo’s performance of ‘Ducks’ from Say Sum Thin 7:

BLUE WASH AND LEAF-EFFECT LIGHTING. GUITAR PLAYS THROUGH D.I.

MALE DUCK ENTERS STAGE LEFT AND WADDLES TO CENTRE STAGE.

MALE: I’m a duck
swimming in the water.
I’m a duck,
I like lakes not seas.

All my friends try to tell me
“fly south for the winter”
But I don’t care, cuz I’m alright
with the lake I’ve got here.

I’m a duck,
my friends say I’m stubborn,
but I’m just a happy little mallard
where I am in Nottingham.

MALE DUCK DANCES AS FEMALE DUCK ENTERS STAGE RIGHT AND PRANCES TOWARDS HIM

FEMALE: I’m a duck;
I fly south for the winter,
So fly with me if you want to keep warm!

Fly south with me;
fly south for the winter!
I think this year we’re headed
to the Mississippi river.

MIRROR BALL CREATES STARLIGHT EFFECT

FEMALE: It’s actually,
pretty fun and wicked –
We soar over coastlines and mountains
and navigate with help from the stars!

FEMALE WIGGLES PLAYFULLY

MALE: You’re a duck…

FEMALE: I’m a duck!

MALE: …and you’re pretty fit.
So I might…

BOTH: Fly south for a bit!

DUCKS DANCE OFF STAGE LEFT
LIGHTS FADE AND GUITAR ENDS.

Please e-mail your scripted poem to Afrah at production@mouthypoets.com by tomorrow (Sunday, 15th February) ATTACHED TO THE E-MAIL AS A SEPARATE DOCUMENT.

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Debris Stevenson – SST8 Headline First Draft

10 Jan

Hello All!

So this is my first first draft that I was working on at Arvon – I am actually working on another draft as I type but it won’t be ready by tomorrow so I wanted to post this up in the interim. I really want to push the story telling aspect of it so I am looking a lot at character and dramatic structure. Feel free yo give feedback although I think at this stage it might be slightly more helpful for the next draft I am going to put up hopefully in a week or so.

Estimated Length: 5-8minutes

Collaboration? I really want this to just be about story telling so it will just be me – Moth Story Slam style.

Gary

11.38pm, text message:

We’re in Queens A&E, Gary’s come off his bike.

 

What? Peddle or Motor? Surgery or plaster? Dead? No answer.

I’ve been sent outlandish messages like this before,

a slumber party parent said Gary was in hospital –

I had to stay until I was told he’d just snapped

his forearm replicating a Swan-Ton bomb off the sofa.

I had a poster of Jeff Hardy on my wall.

Once, mum called at 3am: Dad’s had a heart-attack.

It was trapped wind. But anyway, it’s 11.52pm

I keep calling – voicemail. Voicemail. Voicemail.

Then somehow I have a voicemail. It’s Mum,

unusually quiet for an Italian – We’re at the hospital,

Gary’s back from Japan, won his battle with the bank,

but he’s had an accident.

What?

Peddle or Motor?

Surgery or plaster?

Dead?

No answers.

Gary is 4 years older than me. Got 100% in his 11+

(I wasn’t allowed to take my 11+ Mum thought it would upset me.)

Everything Gary told me, I told my friends as fact:

there was definitely a famous “World of Cheese” museum

in the south of France, slugs live in your sock draw

and I am not dyslexic – Mum’s a hypochondriac!

All my friends fancied him, Rebecca said,

he looks like Brad Pitt in Fight Club!

Nicola attacked his saliva at a Sixth-Form party.

But anyway, when I get there you can’t tell blood from spit.

Dad said it’s fine,

he’s just a bit scratched up. Have you got work tomorrow?

It looked like his gums had exploded. He looked at me –

Yo. Gake a kiktcha. I took out my phone and zoomed in.

Do you want to see?

He shook his head.

The nurse water-gunned his face with ice-cold saline

and Gary seemed to find it hilarious,

whipping his head from side to side,

globs of blood slashing in the opposing directions.

I was starting to find it hilarious too,

his lips swollen solid, as she sprays at him

I begun to see the amount of road

welded into his upper lip and split mouth.

At least 2 teeth missing, another 2 would have to go,

remnant enamel lodged in skin and blood clogging black.

I was so scared.

Dad, again, So, do you have work tomorrow?

What happened? I asked.

Apparently police turned up

at the front door with this note –

 

Gary was found at the side of the road unconscious. Came off peddle bike, heavily concussed (thinks he’s in Japan).”

 

He’d come around by the time Mum got there.

Apparently he kept asking if he wasn ‘t a genius anymore?

Said the fucking bank tried to steal everything but he won,

he fucking won. Mum said, he must have been concussed

he never swears, she’s wrong.

Once, Gary didn’t speak to her for 6 months as punishment,

until she started sleeping in the car and threatened to divorce

Dad, who was still asking about work tomorrow.

And who apparently, have refused to turn on the central

heating in the car on the way to the Hospital

because Gary’s shivers were in the minority.

Gary found that piece of the story hilarious too

as the nurse continued to spray his face.

We continued laughing and he wrapped his palm

around our Mum’s, she looked so happy –

I’d never seen that before.

Adventure Resources Exhausted

10 Jan

Now say that 3 times over as quick as you can…

Adventureresourcesexhaustedadventureresourcesexhaustedadventurereoas[piosnfauieroiefn;aw – nope

20150109_184201

Mouthy kicked off again on the 9th with the first workshop of 2015; with the upcoming SST8 the work done was focused around the drafts for the performances and also a recap and organisation on the legwork that the collective do to make the shows a success but as it was my first day on placement I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Deborah warmed up with an exercise to discuss adventures, when your ‘Adventure Resources Exhausted’ you needed to go find some more from the others, one of which was entitled the ‘banana in Isafjordur’ – make of that what you will but the accompanying story was definitely worth listening to. There was a point to this warm up as well, as you’d hope, and that was the focus on the adventure behind a poem. In novels the adventure is laid out for you, so too in film, but in poetry it can often be hard to find. Deborah wanted to focus on how the story of a hero in the ‘ordinary’ world, who journeys to the ‘new’ world, can be applied to a poem – this was obviously done through the use of Pixar. How else, right? The point made was that stories place heroes in their most uncomfortable position to enact an emotional change and provoke a response: Toy Story, for example (other lucrative film series are available), puts Woody in a tight spot each film to then allow him to overcome the difficulty he faces.

Drafts were subsequently made based on this structure or any ideas already developed placed upon it; we then broke off into groups to get some feedback on what had just been written. It was interesting to see how the blueprint was used or flouted – one example of the latter consisted of ignoring the adventure almost completely and replacing it with ‘blah blah apple blah temptation blah blah blah’, whilst at once very funny to hear it also took one of the most well known stories in the world (Eve and the apple, if you weren’t quite sure) and turned it on its head,  to focus on how the adventure affected the new hero. The thing is poetry allows that license, its ability to change and deviate from any structure is part of the reason people enjoy it and also the reason that nothing you hear will be the same as the last.

With or without these heroes, Drafts for SST8 are to be submitted this weekend and so the run into performances on the 27th and 28th of February is in full flow. Alongside the Mouthy Tour these guys are working tirelessly to develop their own work and to voice their opinion; all in all, they’re an impressive group. And so it is that my new placement begins; an adventure in itself.

Hayley Green – How to Open a Can of Fish – Mouthy Tour

7 Sep

I’ve been fishing

in a bucket of buttons.

I wasn’t alone –

we used our faces as bait,

tossed lines across the internet,

knotted seaweed

and laid in wait.

 

We’re searching for beauty in a keyboard,

first dates on laptops.

Top prospects, a shopping list

of cyber women

of cyber women

of cyber women.

 

Spoken word doesn’t mean anything in this sea

but a well timed wink is poetry…

 

Chloe

Chloe was a scientist.

So I planted flowers in molecules,

told her to find them;

She got on a plane to Ukraine

and never came back.

One down –

 

it’s a numbers game;

Emily liked games.

We played solitaire for a week

but I knew we’d never meet.

Crossed her off my list

of cyber women

of cyber women

of cyber women

 

of men pretending to be women.

Nicola

Nicola was an old man with a beard.

Charlotte didn’t have a beard but was no longer a fish.

Janet told me her name was Zoe

and Zoe…

 

We fell in love over phone calls at midnight,

a twix and dairylee dunkers.

Dunked into real –

reeled me in

and left with me with nothing but a lie.

 

Zoe should have stayed online.

 

Heather thinks she knows how it feels to have scars –

tells me so in her opening.

HotGirl23 wants a poem.

LezzyLizzie wants a poem.

Blondebarbie wants a poem.

Wants a poem

Wants a poem

Wants a poem.

 

Here’s how to open a can of fish:

Hi, I’m Michelle,

I read your profile and you seem nice.

I’m honest,

creative

romantic

like writing,

music production,

techonological repair,

Family Guy

and American Dad.

I’m looking for a long term girlfriend

but new mates are great too.

I’d like to chat and get to know you?

 

Shame her face wasn’t bait I wanted to be caught by –

 

I don’t want to be caught anymore.

There’s plenty of fish

but I’m tired of swimming

in waves of

cyber women

of cyber women

of cyber women.

Hayley Green – Headline Show Final Draft

7 Jul

Changing Rooms

{Hayley centre stage surrounded by 5/6 Mouthy’s dressed in all black}

Girl:

I am twelve

cemented in a changing room,

girls tiled on both sides –

I don’t know where to look

 

{Film running in background}

Girls in changing rooms:

I’m taking first spot behind the showers!

Don’t look don’t look!

 

Girl:

I clam up –

Make-up dolls

and curiosity

making me want to leer

but I divert my eyes to the floor

and try to avoid their sneers

 

Girls in changing room:

Pop away your tongue –

I’m not a lollipop

and this is not a sweet shop

 

{Narrator: recorded to run alongside film of taking make up off}

Narrator:

She spent ten minutes studying her timetable this morning

PE, the two letters alphabetti spaghettied

around the blue and white stripes of her school planner.

Her heart, overcooked soup in her chest

that hasn’t heard from puberty –

unlike these other girls around her

she has yet to develop breasts

 

Girl:

So I take a peak –

More out of jealousy

 

Girls in changing room:

Errrrrrrr

what you looking at lesbo?

Errrrrrrr

she’s looking at me,

she’s dirty

 

Girl:

Reverse

Tuck the peak back inside my head

gawk at the floor again –

If I look up

they’re just gunna call me a lesbian

 

Narrator:

She’s an odd sock, stale,

permeated by the words

she imagines they say

which wouldn’t be so unfounded –

she’s pounded urges so they don’t surge

through the edges of her skin,

 

moulded thoughts

to keep within parameters

of a world she doesn’t understand,

catting her back against tiles

 

 

Girl:

I camouflage myself into the background,

towel tiles around my body,

plaster myself into a hiding space

where no hiding spaces are found

 

Narrator:

She displaces the feelings

tumble drying in her stomach

and irons them onto others.

She’s stained

like the tiles on the walls around her

mosaicing her design

to look more like theirs as they change.

 

Girls in changing room:

They should be put with the boys

so they can’t look at us,

they’re more like them anyway

 

Narrator:

She’s not been sewn together quite right

A knitted jumper with one sleeve

longer than the other

still stitching new threads

onto the right places

 

Girl:

The door that separates the girls from the boys is open

for me to gumshoe towards

and through

because their bodies match mine

more than the girls’ do

 

Girls in changing room:

It’s not right that we have to hide

so they can’t see us,

they’re always looking

 

Girl: Looking, looking

They must have caught me looking

 

Narrator:

To get caught she must have been looking

so maybe it’s time

she stops tucking these feelings under her desk

unfold herself to reveal she’s just not like them –

It’s fine to have these thoughts in your head

 

Girl:

But I am twelve

cemented in a changing room

girls tiled on both sides

and I don’t know where to look.

Hayley Green – SST7 Headline – Redraft

22 Jun

Changing Rooms

 

{set in a changing rooms, a young girl surrounded by school girls staring at her}

 

Girl:

I am twelve

Standing in a changing room

Girls tiled on both sides

I don’t really know where to look

 

Girls in changing rooms:

I’m taking first spot behind the showers

Don’t look don’t look

 

Girl:

I clam up

Make-up dolls

And curiosity

Making me want to stare

But I divert my eyes to the floor

And try to avoid their glares.

 

Girls in changing room:

Pop away your tongue

I’m not a lollipop

And this is not a sweet shop

 

{Narrator: just forward of the scene, reflects}

Narrator:

She spent ten minutes studying her timetable this morning

Two letters alphabetti spaghettied

around the blue and white stripes of her school planner

Her heart, overcooked soup in her chest

That hasn’t heard from puberty yet

Unlike these other girls around her

She has yet to develop breasts

 

Girl:

So I take a peak

Probably more out of jealousy

 

Girls in changing room:

Errrrrrrr

What you looking at lesbo?

Errrrrrrr

She’s looking at me,

She’s dirty

 

Girl:

Reverse

Tuck the peak back inside my head

Stare at the floor again

If I look up

They’re just gunna call me a lesbian

 

Narrator:

She’s an odd sock, stale

Drenched in the words

she imagines they say

Which wouldn’t be so unfounded

She’s pounded urges so they don’t surge

Through the edges of her skin

Moulded thoughts

To keep within parameters

Of a world she doesn’t understand

Cats her back against tiles

Stands up

straight.

 

Girl:

I camouflage myself into the background

Towel tiles around my body

Plaster myself into a hiding space

Where no hiding spaces are found

 

Narrator:

She displaces the feelings

Tumble drying in her stomach

And irons them onto others

She’s stained

Like the tiles on the walls around her

Mosaicing her design

To look more like theirs as they change.

Girls in changing room:

They should be put with the boys

so they can’t look at us,

they’re more like them anyway

 

Narrator:

She’s not been sewn together quite right

A knitted jumper with one sleeve

Longer than the other

Still stitching new threads

Onto the right places

to look more like them

 

Girl:

The door that separates the girls from the boys is open

For me to big toe tip toe towards

And through

Because their bodies match mine

More than the girls’ do

 

Girls in changing room:

It’s not right that we have to hide

so they can’t see us,

they’re always looking

 

Girl: Looking, looking

They must have caught me looking

 

Narrator:

To get caught she must have been looking

So maybe it’s time

she stops tucking these feelings away in a closet

Unfold herself to reveal she’s just not like them

{Turns to young girl}

It’s fine to have these thoughts in your head

 

Girl:

But I am twelve

Standing in a changing room

Girls tiled on both sides

And I don’t know where to look

 

 

 

So I’ve tried more of a script layout, does this look better than having it all over the page? I have also tried out having the narrator in 3rd person (it was originally 1st person), do you think this works?

Does it rhyme too much or does it work for this? I think I like it if I’m going to have 3 different voices going along, I don’t think there’s much to it otherwise.

Any feedback welcome 🙂

Natalie’s redraft for SST7

21 Jun

Still wanting to make this poem a lot tighter so any suggestions would be very appreciated 🙂 It means a lot to me and I want to do it the best I possibly can.

Between the Mole and the Marrow

As we watch the giant slumber

With the balcony still hot under

Our feet while daylight lingers in

The opal glow of eyes under

bedsheets with laughter crumpling

to the end of everything. Our

breath caught between the space

where I hide behind. I saw that cliff face

Where once we waved at the place

Where we are now. I blink.

And you are gone from me somehow.

 

Nostalgia, what venomous ambrosia

All the hurt that crumbles down

The amnesiac wall. The thickness

Of me that you dearly took in

Sickness, dear, in sickness you

Were unfit for me. You shook my

Bones and bellowed at me in

Tones of misogyny, so angrily,

You rammed at my gate,

Mangled my resolve and crammed

A vial of arsenic down my throat

And the moat surrounding my

Castle thirsted while you burst in

Without asking and told me

You had always been King.

 

You called yourself a feminist

Wore a denim jacket

With a ticket in the pocket

From the eighties

For a ride for two.

 

You called yourself a feminist

Attended meetings

Spoke over women

Playing devil’s advocate

With their feelings

Wore a t-shirt with the slogan

“This is what a feminist looks like”

 

For you feminism was telling me that other girl’s

breast size was better than our best time.

 

You called yourself a feminist

But all that tall-talk

That Philosophy

Is your biggest hypocrisy

 

No one else saw how

You made me

Curl in on

Myself.

 

Even my eyes

Rolled back

In their sockets.

Ashamed, I blamed myself

For the games you played

Never mind how they maimed me

And shamed me

You trained me

To let the grime trickle off

Like rain

Back to the part of me

That started to

Unravel at the

Centre

 

And then one day released me

When you had spent your lusty glee

And ragged and crying and thin

And crying I ran. You laughed at

The humour in broken things.

 

And in the North of England

I run barefoot up the immobile pavement

Limbs heavy mountains

February’s icy blanket between my toes

My body dissolves into pumice footsteps

Tiptoeing on the wicker basket

Along the edge of Oblivion.

 

He had chosen fight,

I responded in flight

And I wish I’d had the wings

But there was only

The night and the

Unsympathetic alleyway

To keep me company.

 

The yew-tree of his

Co-existence with me

Stood aloof in its

Persistence.

Like the sure resistance

Of the dying.

 

The yew-tree of his

Co-existence with me

Roots deep in some substance

We called love

Holding in the last sustenance of life

And grasping, grasping

At the air we breathed.

 

And now that the hurt

Has curdled

I wrap myself in the folds

Of paper and curls of pen.

And there, in the vacuum

of the gap between the

Mole and the Marrow

I heal my heart

And write a new home.