Day4 – Mobile Training, Punchdrunk and Living Dolls

The latest training session I’ve observed at the SIM Centre was in the hospital car park, well to be more precise, in the Mobile Training Unit… parked in the hospital car park. The mobile training unit can be hired out around Scotland and used for training sessions. For this day, mainly ambulance staff were being trained in how to create training scenarios. Interesting to me were:

  • the scenario templates, potentially useful in planning performances.
  • setting up the mobile unit and getting more opportunity to get hands on with the mannequins, getting an idea of body weight, how to move mannequin around, its overall mobility, joints, etc.
  • the portability of the Mobile Unit, in that it could potentially be set up anywhere, providing an extension to the performance spaces available or even a touring show.

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Feb 12 I went down to London to see the extraordinary show ‘The Drowned Man’ by theatre company Punchdrunk. Set in the sprawling Temple Studios, next to Paddington Station this ambitious production is a promenade piece that the audience is free to roam. Wearing ghoul-like masks the audience encountering scenario’s happening across multiple floors and an amazingly dense and rich set, which includes motel, caravan park, woodlands, film sets, bar, doctors office, dressing rooms and a wrap party (best bar ever, with house band, magic tricks etc!) The soundtrack is a loud industrial drone, and the lighting dark, together creating an ominous, intense environment. The overall narrative is delivered through a small leaflet handed out at the entrance, and rather than piecing together the story from A to B to C etc within the actually show, the audience experiences the narrative in whatever order they wish or happen upon. Almost three hours long, if I’d be staying in London another night I would have happily gone right back the next night!

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And connected in a completely different way to this project is the Channel 4 documentary “Secrets of the Living Dolls”, suggested for me to watch after a conversation about the possibility of wearing the mannequin skins (they zip on). Living Dolls or masking takes this to a whole different level, but is quite fascinating in its combination of artificial second skin, worn directly on the body (I made work around similar themes as an undergraduate Sculpture student), and the wearers reactions to themselves, as much as other people’s reactions.

Next, some Digital SLR Camera training…so I can take better photo’s!