We’re now getting into week two of the Bow Down project and the glorious weather of today perfectly matched our mood. But what a journey so far…
I think back to our introductory day a month ago, and I notice we’ve made so much progress. Our cast consists of seven young performers, all with different specialties (actors, dancers and instrumentalists) but in this piece everyone is required to sing, move, speak and play an instrument. Imagine how nervous I was at the start! I’ve spent most of my life so far sitting still in orchestras, making sound through my oboe.
On top of that I met Sir Harrison Birtwistle! He arrived and very quietly told us what he and his team back in 1977 set out to achieve. He explained that Bow Down is neither an opera nor a play but it is a marriage of all performance art forms and it will be an opportunity for each of us to explore new ways of expression. So I’ve been doing exactly that and learning to be expressive without having my instrument as a medium. Suddenly my world has expanded beyond my oboe and my music stand!
Harrison, who started off as a clarinettist, understands how an instrument can be restricting to musicians. He told me he once went to a clarinet maker’s, picked up a tube of wood, marked randomly with chalk where he wanted the finger holes to be, and the maker simply drilled these holes in the tube. Then a poor clarinettist had to work out how he could make a half-decent sound out of this “instrument”! I suppose he got to a point where he didn’t care what sound he was making and would put aside his pride as a clarinettist and relied solely on his performance skills. That’s going to be my aim for this week…
Our latest blog posts:
On the origins of Bow Down
Meet the cast of Bow Down
Bow Down: behind the scenes video
Finding my rythm in Bow Down
Rehearsing Bow Down: an atypical process
Going beyond the music with Bow Down
Bow Down: a special kind of fairy tale
Beyond the story: the set and locations of Bow Down
Bow Down performance spaces
Bow Down in pictures