17th of August, 2020
FROM VIRTUAL REHEARSALS TO A PHYSICAL SPACE
Our emergence into the theatre scene was one of immense experimentation and optimism!
Beginning the R&D and rehearsal process over ZOOM was challenging. Though our roles as company members are fluid, establishing each member’s criteria in this particular project meant that, despite the isolation, we were able to continue working at some pace. Creating rules of how to use the virtual rehearsal space resulted in a very productive way of working while utilizing our time effictively, at and away from the computer screen.
In practice, it meant that each company member would always enter the virtual rehearsals space with pre-prepared material to share, which was based on tasks set in the previous zoom-session.
Manda and Octavia frequently had ‘writing sessions’ where the script developed in accordance with their readings and new originative decisions. These new advancements would then be pitched to the group and the collective feedback would further and enhance the script format.
In these rehearsals, as well as read-throughs, Manda would often direct character workshops and brainstorming games to take us into a communal space where our characters could blossom.
The musical composition took a number of interesting forms. James began experimenting with different compositional formats such as graphic scoring, or ‘in-the-round’ composition (in which one track would be sent on to another company member to layer over and so forth). Before finding our ‘sound,’ doing silly compositional projects such as percussive tracks consisting of bodily noises (cough and sneezes etc.), meant we could see the scale and potential of the ZOOM framework.
Though every member has creative input on both the words and the music; Manda and Octavia primarily focus on the literary and dramaturgical side of things whereas James, Sarah and Danny are our core composers.
Now that CrushRoom can finally rehearse, perform and enjoy general silliness in a physical space, the orchestration of ‘After the Flood’ has become much more dynamic and emphatic. The months of work and material we produced during lockdown has served us well; all the components have come together in something fresh, intoxicating and very special.
Upon entering the physical space, the roles within the company became defined. Manda is an excellent director, experimenting and shaping the space, using the performers' bodies as architecture to enhance the potential of a simple black box while advocating taking risks.
Entering a physical space in the time of an actual pandemic means that we continue working with certain restrictions ...
Of course we had to continue to develop the work whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines - playing with these limitations has become a fun way to challenge the way we had previously worked as creatives.
The ‘After the Flood’ scratch night is on at Camden People’s Theatre on 7th September 2020.
16th of August, 2020
Research & Development - After the Flood
CrushRoom began like any other theatre company.
Actually - that’s a lie.
We began in chaos.
Scattered across the globe - Manda, Octavia, James, Sarah and Danny began to think - what kind of questions could we ask the new post-pandemic world and what did we, as artists, miss the most?
The euphoria of the gig was something we all craved; the shared intimacy we had taken for granted in a pre-pandemic world. We also knew that things would probably not go back to normal - nor should they. If anything valuable was to come out of this pandemic, it was that, to save our world, we needed to change how we interacted with our environment.
Co-founders Manda and Octavia have previously worked together on short re-imaginatings of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabbler and Joensson’s adaptation of The Graduate. With this established fervor for exceptional literature, we dove into our combined library to discover which texts would confront society’s blase attitude towards our ecosystem AND potentially entrench music as a newfound communicative device in a post-pandemic landscape. After all, music is one of the most beautiful powers we have as a cognitive species.
Upon discussion with the team, and an absolutely stellar suggestion from composer extraordinaire James Christensen, we settled on Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam Trilogy. With the first installation premiering in 2003, Atwood’s almost clairvoyant surrealism struck a chord with the company. A world hurled into post-capitalist anarchy; the few survivors there are searching for meaning after an ecological catastrophe. The fictitious tropes struck a particular relevance - the mad scientist releasing a virus, the abject consumerism plaguing creative growth, the barren wasteland slowly returning to its pre-institutionalised state - its eccentricity, once a ridiculous notion, was now alarmingly tangible.
Though not nearly as devastating - beginning our research and development over (often unstable) WiFi seemed particularly poignant. Miscommunication and misunderstanding were looming perils which threatened progress - losing income, stability and health were global ties which both terrified us, yet bound us in the desire to create something which would resonate in a new greener generation. We talked, we laughed, we drank and missed each other very very deeply.
And now, here we are.
We finally came together for the first time in the glorious summer sun (Hyde Park London never disappoints) with the disparate threads we had nurtured in isolation. We shared carefully curated words and the music we believe the world now needs; and it was beautiful.
‘After the Flood’ scratch night comes to Camden People’s Theatre on September 7th 2020. We cannot begin to say how excited we are for this first iteration, AND, where and how this project will continue to thrive. Persevering through the most unexpected and difficult origins, CrushRoom is lucky enough to have global parentage (our members are from Britain, Denmark, Australia and USA) which is not only incredibly fortunate for professional progression, but also tremendously moving considering the increasingly nationalistic and seperatist politics which divide and confine artists. This cannot be. We have much, much more to do together.
CrushRoom is ready to party. God knows we need it. Come enjoy the music; we made it for you.
Manda, Octavia, James, Danny and Sarah.
10th of August, 2020
Upon this glorious date, the 10th of August 2020, the legendary and chronically humble CrushRoom was founded.
In tribulation, they endured isolation, imposter syndrome and incurring indictments against their right to create, fabricate and demonstrate their fabulous dance moves; but, together, they endured.
The music will never cease, the lights will never die and the world will not end. Not if they have anything to do with it.