The Gothic Experiment: Day 4

The performance is approaching! We've decided a concrete order: 

1) Sancta Susanna Opening on the organ

2) Der Vampyr

3) Robert recit section (Sung by Charlotte)

4) Ballet section: Procession of nuns 

5) "Noir fantomes" chorus

6) Duet/Trio: Guy, Bea and Aimee

7) "Il est a nous!" chorus

8) Sancta Susanna ending (Solo sung by me)

Deciding this order was extremely beneficial as we were able to work out transitions between scenes and see if the narrative we had come up with worked. This was also the first day that we had been able to create a blackout in the space (thanks to the house service's team!) which really aided us in seeing the potential of the Peacock Room. It also helped me to get into the spirit of The Gothic for our project.

This morning we decided to set our "procession of the nuns" ballet number which turned from the preconceived idea of just dancers to a movement piece including us all. Lewis taught us 4 base poses that the dancers had created to symbolise worship and we choreographed a sequence where we would repeat them in jagged motion to show the tearing down of religion. We then took our poses that represented sex and turned them into movements that directly followed the worship poses, juxtaposing the two ideals. It was great to be able to join the dancers in the ballet and feel like an actual dancer myself by the end of it.

Another number that was tightened today was the "Il est a nous!" chorus, in the video here you can see our musical run through where both musicians and dancers were singing!

Safely and carefully, Lewis managed to choreograph us to lift Guy into the air as if we were possessed nuns offering him to the demons. This will be a super dramatic element in our piece which will look even better in candlelight.

A few of us were worried about getting our opening, Der Vampyr/"Ihr Hexen" off copy, so Guy had a really good idea of creating a memory-workshop for the singers to make sure that everyone had the words learnt. We sat in a circle, music in-hand, and went through each line of the music slowly in sections. Repeating each section once with copy, then off copy a few times to make sure we knew it, then putting the sections of the song together was extremely helpful and Guy lead the session very well, giving me ideas for how to memorise arias and songs quickly in the future. 

Our first few run-throughs of the entire piece were attempted in the afternoon with the room in darkness. After a few expected bumps in the road, we managed to have a successful run which gave us good material to ruminate over for tomorrow's performance. I'm very excited to see all of our hard work showcased and hope that we can achieve our goals and aims and give the audience a good scare :)

Rachel Farago