There’s a stage that is reached in every devising process that has ever been done. It’s a stage all theatremakers will recognise, or indeed anyone who’s ever tried to create anything. It’s the stage when all the elements are essentially there, but you can’t quite tame them. You’ve just bought a bunch of cool horses but instead of going to the stables and eating sugar cubes out of your hand like you want them to, they run rings around you, whinnying and neighing and laughing in your face while you feebly chuck bits of rope at them. It feels like swimming in a big, murky broth, which you’re sure tastes amazing but you’ve been floating around in it for so long you can’t really tell any more. It’s for this reason that I’ve decided to christen this stage “Soupland”.
I remember way back in 2011 when The Wardrobe Ensemble made our first collective visit to Soupland whilst putting RIOT together. My memories are a little foggy but what I do remember is that it was absolutely horrendous. We thrashed around in the giant, sloopy bowl of mush crying a lot and looking at each other saying “Oh my god oh my god oh my god help what have we done”. When I finally hauled myself back onto land, I towelled myself down and made a solemn oath to myself: “Never again shall I return to that place”.
But time passed by, the memories faded, and before I knew it I found myself back there again. And again. And again. And with each subsequent trip I’ve found it’s got a little easier.
Now here we are, at the end of week 2 of Eloise, back in the broth. The soup still tastes the same and the visibility is terrible, but now I’m much more at ease with the whole experience. Instead of fighting it, I’m quite content to lie back and let the lumpy, aromatic tide take me where it wants to- I know I’ll get washed up in Slick City eventually.