Tag Archives: poetry performance

Debris Stevenson – SST9 Draft 2 Auditorium/Studio Show

23 Jun

Hello All

So I am currently working on a long term project (I think) on the meeting points and collaboration potential of Grime music and poetry – as two big loves of mine. I was hoping to find an artists and use that as a starting point, but that has been logistically very difficult – I have found lots of amazing artists to work with and indeed I feel I will work with lots of them but creating something for SST9 with no experience of collaborating has proven too tight a timeline.

So I was faced with an issue of really wanting to pursue this collaboration but needing a new plan, so I decided (as I often do) to give myself an exercise:

– To start re-writing my favourite album, Boy in the Corner, by Dizzee Racal, but with poetry. For now I am going to call this the #PoetintheCorner project. And it will give me a chance to really analyse Grime Lyrics at their finest and try and replicate them within my own form. Bonus: I get an end product and a clear set of things I would like to work with other artists on.

So below is essentially my first try at this exercise, so feel free to tell me if you think it is crap! It uses the structure of Sittin’ Here – the first track on the album – and uses it to tell a story of an experience I recently had on the train…

Feedback Questions

  • I will be using a lot of staging techniques to tell the story, but on the page can you actually understand/follow what is going on? I think that is important.
  • I have been massively pushed by rhythm here so it would be good to know which line sare working and which feel forced or weird or are not working.
  • How does the pice make you feel?
  • + Generalness…

Who’s Seat?

[Intro -]

Mind your back

Still a way to go.

Baby.

.

It’s clear

(nearly there)

.

Look,

.

[Verse 1]

She’s just sitting there, holding bags and baby just blinks

his eyes don’t collide either side, he just squints

her hands hook pits and her hands look strong

but I think her skin’s split like her bags later on

.

She’s just sitting there, two seats in front on the train,

she’s staring into tray, through her baby like a pane,

she reddens quiet a lot, in fact she’s red all the way.

If she stays, disabled place – get moved slash replaced.

.

Commuters journey,

wrappers, papers, rats and goodbye naps,

commuters journey,

Brompton bikes, phone fights and scenic cites

commuters journey,

ticket fines as keypads distract minds

Yeah commuters journeys,

wheelchairs navigate – human freight.

.

Only a reservation,

trying to feed them both from her seat,

only a reservation,

but no other space to wheel their feet,

only a reservation,

but we’ve made life so neat

.

[Hook]

that now I’m sitting here

thinking human farm?

human farm, human farm

I’m just sittin here

.

Hey, I’m sitting just here

Yes, sorry sitting here,

yes me, sorry – sitting here.

My seat, yes, I’m sitting here –

.

[Verse 2]

.

I want to say

.

She’s just sittin’ here, not saying nuthin’, just watch

There are plenty other seats on the train please, cotch,

But I spot down the isle wheelchairs by the three

And I turn so fast that the answers not with me.

.

Their just talking at her, she says nothing but a smile

Slowly showing hurt, sweat patches merge miles.

No one questions bags, why she’s alone

but the lady over there offers hands as a home.

.

Commuters journey,

suited rosy mother offers cover

commuters journey,

Tesco bags and pram past stags,

commuters journey,

seat adjacent stacks fragile patience,

commuters journey,

pain, as baby’s crying like the cane.

.

Only a reservation

Finally, she was just about to eat.

Only a reservation,

before a clique of work colleagues

Only a reservation,

eyes with a touch more grief?

.

[Hook]

and now I’m sitting here

thinking human farm?

human farm, human farm

I’m just sittin here

.

Hey, I’m sitting just here

Yes, sorry we’re sitting here,

yes us, sorry – sitting here.

Our seats, yes, we’re sitting here –

.

[Verse 3]

.

She’s just sittin’ there, she’s not lookin’ up, breathes less (shame)

We’re only here till Bagshot, reservation’s’ always best.

Crying silent, tears are itchy, rolling down her neck.

We keep offering hands, baby screeches, what the heck?

 .

No longer sittin’ here. No one askin’ baggage why?

Stood flat in the isle silent side to side.

Try read myself together, tell table ladies “Fix Up”

Kick Champaign to laughin’, but subconscious shuts me up.

.

Commuters journey,

Bougie bitches don’t get deserts

commuters journey,

tickets trench human spirit

commuters journey,

mums travel lonely carry slums.

commuters journey.

Bust, we need strangers’ we trust.

.

Only a reservation

stand till bags give out

Only a reservation,

I wish I’d hug her now.

Only a reservation,

New voice saying you’re aloud…

.

[Hook]

to be sitting here

thinking human farmI

human farm, human farm

Leave me sittin here.

.

Come sit with me,

But let’s just be

sittin’ here our seats,

yes, we’re sitting here.

.

Staging Ideas:

  • So I definitely want to create the train somehow; set, lighting, seats, projection or people I am not sure.
  • Some characters will say some of these lines I think… so I need to find some volunteers.
  • I want the poem to end with at least me the lady and her baby sitting in the isle but possible lots of people to be sitting in the isle by the end might be nice.

Technical/ Props Wish List

  • I would really like a fake baby… I am not sure if it will work but it is worth a try?
  • I will need lots of people and or chairs on stage I think… I want to create the feel of the train I think but it would be nice if I could do this with lighting as much as possible.
  • I know you are looking into musical licensing, I would really like to use the actual instrumental from boy in the corner if possible… but I am looking into original music options too.
  • Considering some kind of projection to set the scene but I haven’t thought about it tooo much.
  • I think some of this will be played via audio and some live… as it is A LOT to perform in one go… But I would like to challenge myself.

Which Show?

  • With this new staging idea, having a bit stage to travel around may be really helpful to telling this story, but I am also aware of how new a thing this is for me and the risk in that – everything is taking a long time. Also still conscious that a grime vibe might just sit better in the studio… but it could also be scary…. Interested on thoughts of this too.

How Long? 

  • 5-6min – track is 4min long I am thinking + staging and encase I put it to a new slightly slower track.

Debris x

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Clichés, Drafts and Caroline Bird

31 May

My drafting process is a bit of a doozy. One piece of writing I may whizz through and after a couple of revisions chalk it off to a job well done, while others I’ll struggle over and struggle over and struggle over again and again trying to write my way into an idea. Writing a poem for Say Sum Thin 9 is proving to be a case of the latter form of drafting. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get anywhere with it. I have the idea, but I can’t find the medium in which to express it. It’ll come, but it’ll take time.

If the other Mouthy Poets are having similar problems they’re doing a cracking job of keeping it under wraps, particularly if Friday’s workshop with Caroline Bird is anything to go by. Caroline promised to get us all writing, said that we’d be all well tuckered out by the end of the workshop and I’ve got to admit she wasn’t wrong there. I was worn out by the end of the session, but the amount of work everyone produced was staggering. I write at about 4 wph (words per hour) and I think that’s fast; I’ve got nothing on the rest of Mouthy. Pages of the stuff straight onto the page, but with Caroline in the room we all really kicked it up a notch. She even said at one point she wanted the session to feel like six hours’ worth of workshop in three. It was jam-packed, and it was great.

We looked at a number of poems and used these as springboards for exercises. One such exercise was to try and get to the heart of clichés, trying to find ‘the danger’ in them again. Caroline used the examples of ‘head in the clouds’ and asked us questions like ‘What does that feel like? Is it cold? Is it hard to breathe? Where’s your neck and how does it feel: is it thin, long, what?’ I tried to write around the phrase ‘cat got your tongue’ – taking it quite literally is a painful thing to imagine when you really think about it! When I read what I’d written Caroline suggested I remove the last line to give it a punchier feel, and this is something I find myself often doing or being recommended to do. I think it’d be a useful way to think about your own poetry too: how does deleting the last line or stanza change your poem? Is it better? Worse? What does it offer or change? It’s good practice to play with your drafts in such a way.

And speaking of drafts, midnight tonight marks the deadline for first draft of our poems for SST9. If you’re anything like me, you’re bricking it. If you’re not anything like me, teach me your ways. With that said, I guess it’s time to get to the drafting.

I guess I’m going to cheat here a little because I’m going to bung on my idea and first draft to this post! How cheeky of me. So here goes:

My idea revolves around a fisherman trying to catch carp the day after a carnival in his village but all he can catch are goldfish children released the day before. Behind him the carnival is being packed away. I have this very strong image of him sat there trying to get a decent carp on a bank holiday Monday after he’d not been able to fish all weekend because of the carnival. I’m wanting to play around with the poetic form, but I think the specific way I play about with it will come later when I settle on the backbone of the poem.

And so here’s the first draft while we’re at it. I’m sure it’ll be one of the shortest first drafts you’ve ever seen!

 

 

Blp. Floating dog biscuit.

 

 

I told you I write at 4wph! I can’t seem to get beyond this. The problem is I’m trying to write a character and I don’t know anything about him. For this to work, I need to figure out what makes him tick. Or to step away from the idea of performing as him. With the midnight deadline looming, reckon that may be a hard one to pull off! I’ve taken the mickey a bit there, but ah well! I’ll sign off here…

Jordan

Debris Stevenson – SST9 Idea

17 May

So I have a lot of ideas buzzing around my head for this one, and also a lot of other writing I am working on that I think this piece alongside. I think what might help is for me to list my aims/objectives for this piece:

-I want to push my understand and use of poetry crossing over into Grime Lyrics/ MCing both within my writing and my delivery.

-I want to work with local Grime artists in developing, creating and performing the content – I really want to work with a producer and ideally some MC’s too.

-I want to explore the ‘Carnival Atmosphere’ of a cypher, a battle, a clash in a garage, a living room, a park.

-I am currently developing a lot of content for my one day 1 woman show (my SST8 piece is part of this too), this show is mainly around my family and religion but I want Grime and where I grew up to feature in it too and I think this piece might be at the core of that intersection.

-I think it is quiet likely I will be aiming for the Studio show for this because I really want to create that vibe of being in a small, sweaty space. BUT I am aware aiming for the auditorium show may enable me to draw in some more high profile collaborators.

Very excited!

Debris

TOP 5 TIPS ON TEACHING PERFORMANCE POETRY IN SCHOOL, BY KAI

22 Jan
  1. If you only have one or two periods, think of how you can make your lesson as effective as possible in terms of time. Rehearse how you instruct the exercises and try to make the instructions concise and simple. Also, instead of handing out sheets of paper during the lesson, distribute them on the chairs, if they need paper for the first exercise.
  2. When the students are talking with each other and do not listen to your instruction, don’t overuse “Respect the Mic!” (because it can become meaningless and like “shh”, like shut up). Instead, whisper your instructions, change your pitch, speak like goofy, or speak directly to the one who is talking (but without telling him that he should stop talking), or you can change your position in the room in silence. The students then will notice that instructions are coming or that they need to be quiet and listen to the instructions.
  3. If you want the students to give feedback on your session, use post-it-notes! Use different colors for positive and constructive/ negative feedback. In order to get more specific feedback, e.g. let them use a metaphor (if you’ve done a session on metaphors) to evaluate the session. Or let them compare the session to animals, vegetables, clothes, etc. They might come up with a feedback like “The session was like new shoes I had to wear in.” or “It was a cup of coffee, warming and refreshing.”
  4. Always do a small projection exercise before they share their writings: Stand / sit straight, both feet firmly on the ground, shoulders back, imagine that your spine wants to reach your chin, but your chin stays up. Don’t forget to breathe! Look into each other’s eyes. You want them to hear your voice.
  5. If the students don’t have much energy and are tired, do this quick exercise: Stretch your arms, shoulders, legs. Then Yawn together very loudly and open your mouth as much as you can. Do this together and repeat the yawn two or three times. This takes maximum 3 minutes.
Quote

The Number 1 Reason to Write

29 Jan

“Our real poems are already in us, and all we can do is dig.”

By Jonathan Galassi

Romeo and Juliet Aside Note FEATURING MOUTHY POETS

2 Feb

Below is the first draft of the poetic interventions for our Romeo and Juliet performances. If you’re not involved and would like to get involved contact Panya.


Tuesday 13th March 7.4pm performance

 1. What: Tannoy take over – Evening performance

Comedy Radio show agony aunt sketch

Who: Honey and Ioney

Duration: 5 min.

2. What: What would you do? –Evening performance

Group piece about bullying, hate crimes, etc. There will be 8 Mouthy milling around in foyer, upstairs, outside, etc. Each will be holding a placard with words/images on – 4 will be a statistic and 4 will have positive words.  e.g. 5 children are bullied each day, with ‘courage is doing the right thing.

Who: Serita, Matt, Maresa, Caroline, Gayatri, Panya, Georgina, Georgie (this piece requires at least 9 mouthy members – 8 in the audience and 1 on tannoy)

Duration: 7 mins


WEDNESDAY 14TH MARCH – PRESS NIGHT– 7.45pm performance

1. What: Mouthy sound bites Performance Corner

Who: Serita poetry, Asha acoustic guitar/song performance, Stephen poetry, Georgina poetry, Panya

Duration: 20 mins (split into 2 ten minute slots)

 

2. What: Shall I hear more or shall I speak at this? Mini poetry writing workshop inviting people to write a short poem. .

Who: Anne

Duration: 20 mins


Thursday 15th March  1.30pm performance

1. What: What would you do?

Who: Serita, Matt, Maresa, Caroline, Gayatri, Panya, Georgina this piece requires at least 9 mouthy members – 8 in the audience and 1 on tannoy

Duration: 10 mins

2. What: Shall I hear more or shall I speak at this? Mini poetry writing workshop inviting people to write a short poem.

Who: Anne & Jim

Duration: 20 mins

3. What: Poetry Performance – 7.45pm performance

Who: Jim

Duration:?

Friday 16th March

1. What: Flash Mob Sound-scape piece.

Who: (As many Mouthy as possible to take part, so far we have) Stephen, Asha, Chris, Panya, Georgie, Georgina, Wise and Simone

Duration: 10 mins

2. What: Some things should never be said. Unspoken poetry in the lifts.

Who: Panya

Duration:

3. What: Chalk Outlines

Who: Debris and as many Mouthy as possible.

Duration:

SATURDAY 17TH MARCH 2.30pm performance

 1. What: Flash Mob Soundscape piece.

Who: (As many Mouthy as possible to take part, so far we have) Stephen, Asha. Chris. Panya (others, who?)

Duration: 10 mins

2. What: Some things should never be said. Unspoken poetry in the lifts.

Who: Panya

Duration:

3. What: Tannoy take over – 7.45pm performance

Who: Honey and Ioney

Duration: 5 min.

4. What: What would you do? – 7.45pm performance

Who: Serita, Matt, Maresa, Caroline, Gayatri, this piece requires at least 9 mouthy members – 8 in the audience and 1 on tannoy

Duration: 10 mins

Monday 19th March7.45pm performance

1. What: Shall I hear more or shall I speak at this?

Who: Anne

Duration: 20 mins


Tuesday 20th March 1.30pm performance

1. What: What would you do?

Who: Serita, Matt, Maresa, Caroline, Gayatri, Panya this piece requires at least 9 mouthy members

Duration: 10 mins

Wednesday 21st March 1.30pm performance

1. What: Shall I hear more or shall I speak at this?

Who: Anne

Duration: 20 mins

 

Thursday 22nd March 7.45pm performance

1. What: Shall I hear more or shall I speak at this?

Who: Anne & Jim

Duration: 20 mins

 

Friday 23rd March

1. What: Flash Mob Sound-scape piece.

Who: (As many Mouthy as possible to take part, so far we have) Stephen, Asha. Chris. Panya

Duration: 10 mins

2. What: Some things should never be said. Unspoken poetry

Who: Panya

Duration:

Saturday 24th March 7.45pm perfromance

1. What: Flash Mob Sound-scape piece.

Who: (As many Mouthy as possible to take part, so far we have) Stephen, Asha. Chris. Panya (others, who?)

Duration: 10 mins

2. What: Lift poem on placards in the lift.

Who: Panya

Duration:

3. What: Tannoy take over

Who: Honey and Ioney

Duration: 5 min.