DIARY ENTRY 14
Dress Rehearsal Mayflower Steps Fri 19th June
Finished two further large mirror boats as spares in the morning and then drove down to Plymouth for noon.
Another beautiful cloudless day.
Chalked up a line in front of the blue doors to give a sinuous shape.
With the help of Danielle and Clair , we started spacing out the boats along the line. We filled them with sand to keep the boats in line, but much larger quantities will be needed for the final performance next Friday, to stop the boats scooting off capriciously in a light breeze.
Today we had about 60 boats and one bag of sand, next time it will be 300 boats and Lara will bring eight bags of sand for total security, plus wheel barrow, and lots of stage crew from Dartington to help us set up. Danielle then helped me to attach 50 feet of cord to each mirror boat, ready for the dancers .
S.K. was clearly impatient to start; the rehearsal at Smeaton’s tower had overrun and S.K. hadn’t yet given the thumbs up to the accompanying music that Hugh had composed (Hugh was a bit frazzled too, pressure of time and high expectations from everyone), so we don’t know what, if any sound track there will be. This was also the first time the dancers had rehearsed with the boats. So we all felt a bit pressured to begin with. Fortunately the rehearsal went very smoothly and S.K. seemed satisfied.
It was the first time I had watched the whole piece with no interruptions. The dancers were in costume, enough boats to give an idea of the final installation and the light and strong shadow were fantastic. I felt excited, relieved, inspired and privileged to be a part of this creative journey.
The mirror boats bounced light up into the dancers’ faces as they reverentially lifted them up, two dancers supporting a boat at each end. The effect was much better than I anticipated, a bit other worldly. This is of course all totally weather dependent, so
fingers crossed for next Friday…
S.K. had choreographed a wonderful rolling motion of the boats in the way that the dancers handed them down to each other, starting at the top of the Mayflower steps and then finally arriving at the water’s edge for the final launch.
Each of the four boats slowly set to sea in this fashion, the dancers manipulating them from the wall above with the cords, rather like puppeteers. Eventually the boats were tethered to an iron ring in the harbour wall and left as the final image