A Conversation With My Father Week 1

So, week one of four down as part of the A Conversation With My Father making process. Man, it was properly intense. It was also lovely, and natural, and sad, and strong and relaxed and heartwarming and hard to articulate. 5 days in a room with the effortlessly brilliant Alex Kelly at Embrace Arts in Leicester. Joined on day 3 by my dad, who talked to us both a bit more about policing, politics, protest and public order. By the end of the week we had a piece that ran to an invited audience at 50 minutes, with 5 major new sections, all of which expand on one of the three threads of the piece; policing, protest, and family. The post show discussion went on for over an hour, with people still wanting to talk more about all of the ideas bubbling under it. Here’s some highlights drawn from pictures I shared along the way. (And next up: Stockton on Tees at the ace ARC 4th-8th of Feb. Come along to the showing on the 8th if you can – let me know if you want a ticket)

All the kit ready at the beginning of the week

Alex and me on the first day in the studio. Where we did a lot of talking about me, my dad, and our history. We discovered the carbon monoxide story. And went through a lot of old photographs.

The beginning of the second day in the studio. Alex found two footballs. This day was much more heavily political. We talked about the things you wear for protest. We researched the laws around protest, kettling, policing public order, and talked about preparing for a protest. I drew diagrams. We found the exploded diagram protest gear section.

Planning out key areas of expansion/interest and setting them against different days – moving the un-addressed ones on at the end of each day. Blue for research, yellow for action.

On the Wednesday my dad joined us for 6 hours.

He talked a lot about policing. From theory, to practice, different types of helmet to the old policing cadets and even earlier origins of the police.

We went through the police uniform (full blues) and the public order uniform.

On Thursday we did a lot of doing. We found the explaining-the-police-uniform section and the introducing-the-interview-room section.

We tried to address all of the post-its

Went through the describing-the-protest gear section followed by the police uniform.

On Friday Alex was pretty ill. We went through all the new sections in the morning, and ran the piece once in the afternoon, I made a new keynote presentation for all the media.

And we worked out a new structure which fit in all the new bits.

Then at 6.30, I performed it to an invited audience.

The new bits weren’t quite fully integrated, or well perfected, but they did feel like exactly the right bits – or at least the bits we chose to keep for the showing, the uniform and protest gear descriptions, setting the interview room up, and the carbon monoxide story. We lost the 11 protest bit where I described each demo because it was too similar in style to some of the other new bits. Though feedback suggested that the audience did want something to set that context, so the plan is to look at that, as well as setting, lighting, etc., at ARC in Stockton.

Tired. Pleased. Excited.

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