SUMMER IS FELLOWSHIP TIME for ACOUSCOUS!
(photo above left to right – Kai/BAGEL, Ryan, Francine/BALLOON, Kat)
BAGEL here! Proudly blogging an update about our first 3 days in America for the Acouscous project, all thanx to the ICAT SEAD Fellowship! And how full these days in the Boston area have been! There’s been trips to the local witches’ coven, sunbathing sessions on toe-meltingly hot beaches, incredible feats of acrobatics and riddle solving in fiendishly designed Swedish puzzle rooms, and toy animal taxidermy. All in the name of theatre and science!
I’ll start at the beginning. We landed in Boston on the 13th July around 1pm and were out by 2.30pm – a pesky baggage issue holding us up. Despite the wait we were ceremoniously greeted by a spritely Kat, and subsequently whisked away through the highways of Massachusetts. Arriving at their roadside adobe in Andover we got a grand tour of their home and the Boston Cube: aka the Tesseract. It was a fantastic moment to get acquainted with Kat and Ryan’s incredible artistic profile; every wall in the house is covered in rescued film props, gothic / grotesque portraits, and personal totems hinting at the fervent minds animating new worlds into existence. The Tesseract studio space hosted an array of speakers and now the newly added Pozyx tracking system, looking primed to act as our Heart of Gold spacefaring vessel. We were very excited indeed!
With Ryan working on a temporal film set (that we later got to visit!) over the next few days, we had some time to explore the local sights. A trip to Salem took us deep into the history of the Salem witch trials and we had a great wander around the town.
BALLOON chiming in now 😉 The beach was a magical surprise – I knew we’d be close to the sea but not so close or have the time to go! The cold Atlantic was a restorative breath of fresh air that helped us land into our present adventure. Then off we drove, to collect Ryan from his last day on set – left over icecream and some good banter with the Sound crew were our fond rewards.
The following days fell gently into a routine. Over breakfast we’d talk about our goals for the day, referring back to the over-arching project expectations we’d lined out on the weekend. Then we’d be in the Tesseract, fiddling away with computers and prop prototypes until we got hungry and hot enough to venture back into the kitchen. And that is mostly were we lived for three days, bouncing back and forth between the Tesseract and the kitchen, fueling a steady and excited mashup of sound and interactions. It’s been extrememly gratifying to be in the same room – there is no replacement for working together in person, whether through a Pozyx tech problem together (Ryan and Kai’s heads bent together over three glowing screens), playing the prop game with pool noodles, cutting up various materials to incase the Pozyx tags in and hashing out ideas on multiple pieces of giant chart paper. Ideas come like quick silver – the biggest challenge is to hold it all collectively in our heads. Communication is a big part of what we do together as a team – we have quarterly check ins throughout the rehearsal day, and if language isn’t clear, we ask each other. Putting the world of film, music, theatre and gaming together requires this rigour.
Sharing each other’s work and inspirations has been the focus for these first few days, and then its off to Virginia to coalesce and finesse the ideas that come from this joining. We even scheduled a field trip to Boda Borg, a great interactive game warehouse, where we mentally and physically played and puzzled our way through a series of rooms. This was not only a great team building experience, it got us talking about how to invite audiences into the Acouscous world and what flavour we bring to the work as an ensemble.
It’s not been all fun and games… oh wait… it kinda has! It really feels like we are exploring uncharted territory.
(picture bellow – project expectations from the team)