Richard Layzell comments on 'foreign bodies' performance

This was truly collaborative, in the best sense. And with the inclusion of two students from the MFA (Siobhan and Sula) who you’d not met before, this was even more impressive.


It was my suggestion, I think, just before Christmas, that you would find it easier to work in smaller groups, but you were clear in your thinking and made the choice to continue to work collaboratively as one group. So as a group of nine, this would never be easy.


You are to be congratulated for your sensitivity to each other, and to the emerging content/narrative/themes of your work.In the early stages it was not easy for us. The first two sessions we were moved around a lot, and even told to ‘get out’ of the theatre. I wanted to deliberately keep the content open for these first sessions and I realise this was unsettling. But what came through from this ‘not knowing’ was a strong personal ‘universal ‘ and ‘global’ content.


From my perspective, the last session before Christmas was one of the turning points, when you each spoke of your personal experience of home, the places we were all returning to; the opening up of the projection screen onto tracing paper and the offer to bring rolls of paper back from China; and the agreed skype call for Dec 27th. Of course, I wondered if this would/could all actually happen and was so pleased to find out that you had all followed through.


Then the editing process, in every sense, in January, and finally the theatre was ours in the second week. The fine input of Michael and Douglas was also key at this point. But the biggest surprise was when I became audience for one of the early run-throughs and I had a much stronger emotional response to the work as a whole than I was expecting.


So, the pressure was now on and the collaborative process included Michael, Douglas and myself: twelve of us working together in different ways towards a goal that we all cared deeply about, the wonderful pressure of the approaching deadline for a live audience.


Although most of you were not used to performing, this was also a fundamental shift in the content and impact of your work. Projections alone, from an audience perspective, would have been a much less profound experience.


I’d like to suggest that you all individually make a record of the positives and learnings you’d like to take from this project, for example:


  • Collaborative working

  • Working to deadlines

  • New experiences and new technologies

  • Directing

  • Forming an overall narrative

  • Your own personal narrative

  • Working within the theatre environmentUse of materials

  • Spatial awarenessAudience awareness

  • Audience interaction Etc.

  • Whatever was meaningful for you…


I’d like to thank you for your willingness to take risks, to share your individual mini-narratives on film, your collective and individual imaginations and intuitions, and for working together in such a supportive way.


Richard (Layzell) Jan 2014