After two glorious weeks of research and development we are happy to say that The Feather Catcher has started to take shape. We’ve experimented with bubbles, unsuccessfully tried to build a hot air balloon using red fabric and some wire, written reams of speech and scrapped 99% of it. All in all, a great success!
For that is the beauty of the devising process – and creativity for that matter. It is a tricky beast, working in its own mysterious way. You can try to predict the final product, but odds are there’ll be so many twists and turns along the way it will grow into something beautifully unexpected. We have often been asked what our “process” is –and yes, even praised for it. It seems that many theatre practitioners, dead, alive, old and new are obsessed with the word. When we were studying we read countless books on it. But (whisper this), if we’re being brutally honest, we’re not sure what our “process” actually is – unless you count drinking multiple cups of tea, singing loudly to Bon Jovi and inventing filthy songs to make the others cry with laughter. We’re not sure our book would make it onto the drama school curriculum.
Unfortunately for us, many of our most creative moments have followed some sort of drama or disaster. The entire company was founded whilst Sarah and Katy were stranded in a French airport and this seems to have set some kind of precedent. Our most recent disaster happened during our R and D when we Filskit ladies were pootling back from a successful day of rehearsals. The sun was shining, the M25 was predictably slow and suddenly, WAM! we were struck, in Katy’s small and rather old, green Fiat Panda – by a lorry. After many expletives from our side (mainly Sarah, who we’ve learnt swears profusely in a crisis), the situation was resolved by the giant and comedic eastern European gentleman who, after apologising, bent the vehicle back into shape before sending us on our merry way again. It was a whirlwind of chaos.
Now – make no mistake, we are not suggesting that everyone needs to be stranded in a foreign country or get hit by a lorry to create good work, hopefully these are just coincidences and won’t form a permanent part of our “process”. The best advice we could give to any young company is find what works for you. I think this is why we love devising so much. There is no precedent. Some people need isolation, calm and serenity; others need time pressures and strict routine. Filskit theatre appears to be somewhere in the middle.
Car accidents and rude songs aside, we have found that a combination of collaboration, play and mentoring seems to work pretty well for us. As we look to continue the development of The Feather Catcher and our next projects we can start to design the circumstances under which we are most productive and creative. Therefore, the more we explore the more we get to know about what is right for us. The fact that that might be lying on a floor with bubbles and tea is just a happy coincidence.