I wanted to work with Charlotte because she is kind, funny, doesn’t take any of my shit,helps me to be brave and is one of the U.K.’s best creators of aerialtheatre. I have had the pleasure of performing with and being directed by Charlotte, but it wasn’t until I was in a room with her and 18 young people that I could look on from the outside and see how she brings out the best in people, and is able to guide them through the inevitable devising stickiness until they find something wonderful.
Ordinarily if she were working on a new piece of equipment there would be four weeks allocated to finding out what the people in the room and the equipment were capable of. We had three days (well, two and a half after rigging).
One over-riding impression thinking back to last week was how calm it was. We followed a process where we explored what was I able to do on the equipment, what images we wanted to see, and what movement flowed from improvising. This meant that all the choreography was led by what was possible on the equipment and anything we attempted that wasn’t possible, for whatever reason, was let go. This immediately removed any value judgements from what we created and (to steal a phrase) gave us a menu of options.Charlotte would also extend 5 minutes of improvising into 30, and see through the halfthoughts or misdirections to suggest a wealth of ideas that would take us through an afternoon.
It was an incredibly productive time and by the end, despite being hand sore and brain tired, we had created a wealth of material and a stand alone aerial section which met the guidelines we had been given by Jimmy and felt like it had a natural flow to it. There is still more material to be discovered but thanks to Charlotte I have a clearer idea of how to approach it and how it can potentially fit with what we have already created, and I feel I have reached somewhere I would never have found without her!