Starting a Creative Project - Conservatory Blog

Elisenda Bassas

Elisenda Bassas

Today was the first day I put my creative process on its feet. I used a doll and a wine glass as props, a table and chair as set pieces, and I put on what we decided is going to be my character dress. As text, I picked a song to start my improvisation. Kari sat in front of me. I start improvising with all the elements. I feel I’m being very general. I’m walking around the space with no specific purpose, holding the doll in my arms like a baby and singing the song to it. I’m not making clear events nor packets. I wasn’t sure what should be my primary focus, the object? The song? The space? Kari’s first advice: “make it simpler. Sit down and don’t worry about the space. Now that you are sitting and the doll is on your lap, ask yourself: How can you handle the doll? Where can it go from here? And let’s just focus on the first three lines of your song”. And so I did. I took the doll by the arms and starting dancing with it. We liked the idea so we decided to use it for the first sentence. I kept on finding different ways of singing to and interacting with the doll and beat by beat we kept justifying with the text. At this point, I had three sentences of text with two actions using the device “actor to object” (we didn’t put any limitations on the devices I was able to choose from). Kari asked me to repeat it a couple of times and I was, little by little, starting to feel more confident as I was starting to become more specific. Nevertheless, after the second repetition came the questions: “What are you trying to inspire? Can you be more specific about how you feel about the doll and the song?” I explained that my character was being completely sarcastic dancing with a doll in on her lap, singing “My Baby Just Cares for Me”, and with a wine glass standing on a table right next to her”. There was a moment of silence. A red flag came up in my head! How do I make my sarcasm clear? I chose to repeat it once more focusing on my demeanor. If every technicality I was focusing on were a ball I was trying to juggle, I had dropped the “demeanor ball”. When I picked it back up, my objective became clear. The red flag in my head went down.

The rest of the session worked very similarly. I kept crafting each moment building it from the previous one and always asking myself: with the given history and conditions, which options do I have to move onto the next moment? Also, more juggling balls were added (like: how do I incorporate the wine glass?) and other balls were dropped (like identifying which devices I was using at every moment).

I was very nervous to put my project on its feet. I thought it was going to be a more complex task and it turned out to be simple. Yet, simple should now be confused with easy! The level of specificity I realized I needed to inspire an honest reaction in the audience, was difficult to achieve, but it’s not complex. The biggest lesson I learned: To inspire the audience takes time, not complex ideas.

Lastly, a question that Kari asked me while I was improvising that stuck with me is: “Where do you feel you’re inspiring a lighting change? Or a music change?” Having these questions in mind help me craft my events and I found it a very poetic/theatrical way of thinking about events. I’m excited to continue the journey.

~ Elisenda Bassas