Magnetic North Blog

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Rough Mix 2010 - Harry Wilson looks back

'It is impossible to make a piece of theatre that does not quote, borrow and reference from other artists. I believe that this act of quoting is not only present in the final product, but can also be mirrored in the processes of making theatre. This is not an act of plagiarism, but rather a form of collaboration, and act of skills sharing and represents a complex web of influences. How else can we learn about the processes of making theatre without borrowing from others and trying these ideas out in new contexts? I believe this has been the most useful way that participating in Rough Mix 2010 has helped me develop my practice over the last year.

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Rough Mix 2010 - Linda McLean's starting point

In an empty space any presence is remarkable.

A box
An empty box
Or a light, an unexpected light
Or sock
Or really any form at all
In the empty space, it’s a focus for the eye
And the eye will watch it to see if it does anything
For quite a while
And even when the eye stops watching
It’ll still check it out every now and again
Because the eye is the secret agent of the HEART/SOUL/BRAIN

If there’s a puzzle to be solved
It has to go through the eye (in the sighted of course; it has to go through touch and hearing in the unsighted and touch alone in the deaf mute)

One thing on its own IS every single one of us.
Without words, before words, words which will instantly classify us as
Without words it’s everyman.
Every single person who sees this form in this space
Owns it
Invests in it

If it moves, even infinitesimally, as in Japanese NO theatre, it’s still worth watching.

Somewhere beneath all our learning
All our punishments
All our fears
Is a form that fascinates us.
Wordless, maybe
Inarticulate, for sure
But always, always surprising.

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Rough Mix 2010 - Catriona MacInnes' starting point

A Family

In 2006 I went to Morocco to film some research footage for a documentary about Islamic mysticism. When I returned I discovered that one of the tapes from the same batch that I had bought in Malaga on my way down, had footage on it that I didn’t shoot myself. The footage was of a young couple, seeming to be photographers or artists and two children. The footage has haunted me ever since. I don’t know who these people are or what snippet of their lives I have come to witness. Slowly I have begun to imagine and to build a fiction inspired directly by the images and snapshots of the people in this footage.

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Rough Mix 2010 - Ian Spink's starting point


This is based on a true case of a bipolar Australian/German air hostess who went awol in Sydney, she was eventually found wandering around in an Aboriginal settlement in Queensland (the local Aboriginies were worried that she was a bit mad and reported her to the police, she was claiming to be a German tourist). The authorities threw her into a detention camp in South Australia as an illegal immigrant, not noticing that she needed help. It took a year or so for her family to track her down, and even longer for her to actually admit that she knew them.....

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Rough Mix 2010 - Nicholas Bone's starting point

When I was 10 I spent the year in bed

One day at school, the teacher told us that a new boy would be joining our class. She explained that he was older than the rest of us and that he had been ill and that as a result of this he had spent the last year in bed. This seemed fantastically glamorous to me for two reasons: first, he was being announced in advance by the teacher, rather than just having to turn up at school on the first day like the rest of us; and secondly, he hadn’t had to get up for 12 months. No-one really knew anything about him and even once he started, he had an air of mystery about him: the only thing he ever told me was that he hadn’t had his hair cut for the entire year, which only added to his glamour in my eyes even though he now had rather neatly cut hair. What had actually been the matter with him, I never knew - and I was probably too embarrassed to ask him (the middle class fear of asking personal questions) – but I was fascinated by the idea of what it would be like to just stay in bed. This was long before I’d ever heard of Oblomov.

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Latest Comment

J. Sharp Taking A Walk
07 September 2014
Very much enjoyed your show at the Brunton Theatre last night and the silent walk to start was an excellent addition, creating the perfect atmosphere....