Archive for the ‘Aoife’ Category

June 16, 2008

Listening

by Aoife Mannix

In the night when it rains, I wrap myself around you for extra warmth, rock to the drumming of your breathing,  the windswept landscape of your dreams.  How young you look.  Tiny holes in time where the stars fall out  and they have to break up the moon  to make new ones.  UFOs hovering.

I’d like to be kidnapped by you,  to have no forwarding address.  Just leave the breakfast on the table,  the coffee going cold.  Walk out into a golden morning,  stand on a hill with the sea  stretched out a blanket below us  and the whole day free from interference.   I lie with my hand on your chest,  tuning in to the tapping of your heart.  Trying to learn its secret rhythm,  the other places that you go.  I’m knocking on your forehead  with my clumsy questions.  Your mysterious bruises,  the way grief catches in your throat.

I’d like to curl up inside you.  Float in the waves of your skin,  shoot stars across your eyes.  Take long walks  through the corridors of your lungs,  and find every door unlocked.

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Stay

June 16, 2008

Stay

by Aoife Mannix

An earthquake of crickets, violins across scorched earth.
The blueness of the water after the siege is over,
the sun sinking in perfect pitch to the orchestra of the church bell.
This moment of all moments in heaven.
If the sea were to stop,
if the stones were to erode into moon wolves,
if the tide were to give up ticking,
if all of time turned out to be an hallucination,
I would still be here with you, now and always.

In the brightness of the North Star,
the warmth of your skin flowing through me,
silver ripples across the night sky.
I hold your ship inside this glass bottle,
a message washed up on the shores of your eyes.
Rescue me, believe in me.

When the walls burn down and the stars go up in smoke,
when the mountains turn their backs
and there is nothing but broken glass on your tongue.
In the sadness of this lost music,
the ghosts of all those in between places,
I will be the light switched on
to drive the shadows from the room.
And no matter how late the hour,
I will never ever leave you.

Umbrella Man’s Day

June 8, 2008

Umbrella Man’s Day

by Aoife Mannix

A dozen miniature glitter balls hang suspended over the water,
light dances waves along the wall.
The pool shimmers with disco droplets,
warm yellow blue through gentle mist
as the boy in the wheelchair is welcomed
to Indonesian chimes rolling rhythms from the mystical east.
White rafts are lowered to float small rings of soft splashes,
an electric turban lights the way.

Sweet hellos of gong struck gold purple pantaloons.
Third eye reflections breathe the burble of the smoke machine,
umbrellas sing their silver necklaces
draped around water drumming.
Sponges splish splash as the little girl
sways to the curl of her perfect burst of smile.

The sailing boat bops up and down
in time to the rhythm of rain.
The striking of the big gong freezes all
but the near silent whispering of water.
Bowls skim the surface, perforated wishes,
streams of laughter through golden light.
A riot of raindrops on open palms.

The mallet strikes wonder into the whoosh of colanders,
umbrellas open to the spraying of gamelan shelter,
and we are safe in clear plastic, a bubble of a home.
The happiness of children exploring silver tumblers,
bubbles that emerge from the deep.
The girl giggles as music is poured from a jug,
the joy of spray showers pattering on windows
where words are not needed.

The boy holds his own language in storms of sheer delight
as the white umbrella blesses his face with water kisses,
and all is still and soft and mellow.
The music eases into a rhythm written backwards
in the sky of clouds calling the names of children.
Aisha, Jacques, Tommy, Toby, Thomas.
We recognise ourselves in this opening of hidden treasures.
The drumming of goodbye dances
wrapped in pool dreams of possibility,
the squeeze of love in the grin of a child.

Pool Piece

June 8, 2008

Pool Piece

by Aoife Mannix

Crystal showers through silver colanders
catch the triple light
as glitter balls rain on water.
The little boy stands by the poolside,
his eyes shimmering with music,
smiles of splashes
as the gong strikes laughter.

Umbrellas are shared
in the protective weight
of lifting silver storms.
The patter of spray shooters
as the gamelan kicks in.

The bubbles bounce to wooden tin beats
in time to the onslaught of raindrops
squirted between children.
Splashing silence,
beyond language, there is the haze
of gold swimmers jumping into blue excitement.

A sailing boat of dreams,
patterns liquid on the skin.
Reaching the unreachable,
the priceless pouring of purple connection,
who we really are.

See yourself in the mirror of a child’s name,
in the leaps and bounces of another world reflected
as the boy steps into the pool,
balances perfectly on the hands of sponges,
sings his own churning of floating mirrors.

Bubbles chanting song waterfalls,
the towel massages of drifting back to land.
Wanting to escape dry reality,
having to wave goodbye to the lights.

Peace

May 28, 2008

Peace

by Aoife Mannix

Clouds of mist hang over the pool,
smoke dreams of low didgeridoo vibrations.
The eyes of mirrors
wink red light bulbs
as glitter balls massage the water.
Drums beat purple gold bubble jewels
crowned with sponge treasures.
Saved by liquid rafts,
the white umbrellas offer shelter
from the souls of feet.

The ship sails yellow
with a single lighthouse.
The silent stillness
of suspended glass droplets,
gong frozen.
The ritual of magic gamelan wishes,
the music of silver reflections
holding the echo of ourselves.
Pure theatre of the ocean
pouring through our hands.

What Are Bubbles Made Of?

May 24, 2008

What Are Bubbles Made Of?

by Aoife Mannix

Bubbles are made from fairy wings
and lots of other funny things.

Like sugar rainbows stolen from puddles,
like elastic white rabbits longing for cuddles,
like the silliest laugh from a circus clown,
like the song of a trapeze artist who won’t come down.

Like top hats and clean dishes,
like the sum of three magic wishes,
like the dust from a shooting star,
like the hum of a grand prix racing car.

Like the lightness of ladybirds’ tap dancing,
like the shock of a hundred unicorns prancing,
like the very first smile of a new born baby,
like the surprising taste of soapy green gravy.

Like you and me playing on a sunny afternoon,
like the sadness that it all has to end so soon.

Rehearsal Day – Wednesday, May 21st – Diary Entry from Aoife

May 24, 2008

Today we’re back rehearsing in Oily Cart’s studio.  The room is filled with mist.  Sponge practices lifting the treasure chest to reveal the treasures of the pool.  Tim, the director, decides it would be more effective to have Sponge emerging from the mist, magically summoning up the treasure chest and for it to open to reveal that the treasures are a collection of sponges.  Sponge takes these out to gently massage the children. He will squeeze water on their hands and a little bit over their heads if they like it. Everything about him is slow and dignified and he speaks in a very deep, low voice.

Over lunch Tim, Joe and myself have a chat about how the scratch days might work.  We hope to use some of the poems written for this blog as inspiration for the scratch performances.  Tim and Max, the music director, show us photos from Oily Cart’s early days – it’s interesting to see how the company has evolved without losing any of their zany sense of humour!

Back in the rehearsal studio, there is much discussion on the art of bubble making.  The room is full of sugar bubbles that are far more resilient than simple washing up liquid bubbles.    One of the bubble shooters makes too much noise so Tim decides they should use the other one.  There is a giant umbrella with silver lapels inside and covered on the outside in white reflective material that catches the light giving the impression of tiny light bulbs.  Gong, with her sweet high voice and floating gongs, introduces children to the sounds of the pool.  She will also have a ship that accompanies her.  Bubbles has a pitcher of bubbles that she carries and introduces herself by popping bubbles.  She is always bubbly, singing and very friendly.  It seems to me that the characters of the show are by now very firmly established and all the magical effects fit perfectly with the character they’re associated with.  There are large sheets on the wall that list the main actions of each character’s day.  Tim talks through these and any adjustments that have been made.

For the final part of rehearsal, we go outside to rehearse the bus busk.  Sponge and Lights sport their water backpacks.  Lights spells out his name with his powerful water spray while Sponge can shower water over us.  There are long pipes that are moved in and out of large buckets of water to create an impressive whistle drumming effect.  Feet are also splashed in rhythm while each character sings their goodbye song.   It’s a high energy celebration that should be really good fun for the students when they’re leaving at the end of their school day.  Jesus, the production manager, comes out with some special bubble mixture to help Bubbles practice making giant bubbles with a long stick and an adjustable strap.  It’s a bit tricky in the wind but when it works is very exciting!

Rehearsal Day – Friday, May 16th – Diary Entry from Aoife

May 19, 2008

Rehearsal Day – Friday, May 16th  – Diary Entry from Aoife

Today is Umbrella Man’s day in the pool.  He has a small black umbrella hat and an enormous white parasol that he twirls over the children’s heads.  The two children in the first group make an interesting contrast.  One boy is really excited and seems to love splashing around.  He sings along to the welcome song and is fascinated by the gongs, he even plays them a little himself.  Umbrella Man has a giant colander that he lets water pour through creating a shower effect.  The other little boy is rather intimidated by all this and looks uncertain.  But when Umbrella Man takes him slightly away from the splashing and gives him a smaller bowl to pour for himself, he starts smiling broadly and is now very happy to go under the small clear plastic umbrellas.  This seems to me a really good example of how the show can be adapted to meet different children’s needs.  There are over riding themes to the different sections of ‘Pool Piece’ but the real skill of the cast is the way they respond to their audience so that each child gets a special experience tailored specifically for them.  There is a huge amount of flexibility and openness, a sense that this is a magical world where everything is possible and nothing can go wrong, which seems to greatly appeal to children with learning difficulties who may have trouble making sense of the chaos of the real world.

After the session with the children, Katie, the choreographer, sums up what’s been the most important features of this week’s rehearsal.  This includes the need to give space between the actions, to allow for moments of silence and moments of pure water effects.  To bring things back into focus by making movements deliberate and ritualistic, to take time with the props and consider their importance as emblems.  To keep the sense of discovery and adventure, that everything is new and beautiful each time the show is performed.  With each of the character days, for the principal character whose day it is to perform with the real conviction that the day is centred on them.  Finally to always consider the group interaction, for the cast to support each other and the carers in making the experience of the show a complete coherent whole.  Tim, the director, talks about how much they are all learning from the rehearsal process.  He explains how this show, because it’s not one off performances but a connected series over six days of visits in the same school, is a wonderful opportunity for Oily Cart to really get to know the children involved.  He feels this will deepen their already considerable understanding of working with children with PMLD and ASD.  He urges everyone involved to keep a rehearsal diary and post their thoughts on this blog as this will greatly help to evaluate the work that’s being done.

For the next part of the rehearsal, Katie and myself act as students.  The cast rehearse lifting the colanders and letting water pour through them in a kind of ritual shower effect around us.  This is followed by me going under a small clear plastic umbrella that protects me from the sprays that Umbrella Man and Sponge shoot at me.  Next a giant shower under the giant white umbrella is switched on and we travel under it.  I have a sudden flashback to being a small child in a car with my father driving through pouring rain.   It feels really cosy and protected.  We then bounce in the water with the umbrellas while examining our reflections in enormous silver disk mirrors before being sunk the goodbye song with our names.  There is a lot of emphasis on using the children’s names to give them a feeling of identity and belonging.  The whole show is built around the children and what they enjoy and find stimulating.  It feels like a very beautifully choreographed slow dance through water with lots of room for improvisation!

Billy McCool

May 18, 2008

Billy McCool

by Aoife Mannix

Deep in the depths of a dark, dark pool
lives a water monster named Billy McCool.
With flourescent scales of pink candy ice
and eight octopus arms he thinks very nice.
With his giant hat sewn from a thousand umbrellas,
he considers himself quite the handsome fellow.
His tie has bright yellow stripes that glow in the dark,
he carries a cane of oyster pearls just for a lark,
his jacket is one hundred percent silver fish,
his shirt is sewn from the finest caviar dish,
his shoes are black patent seaweed with periwinkle tassle,
it takes him four hours to dress but it’s all worth the hassle,
for when he swims out from his deep dark cave,
he knows all the girls will rave –
oh Billy McCool, you rule with your shark fin bling,
oh Billy McCool you’re quite the thing with your frog spawn ring,
oh Billy McCool you’re a monster with style,
please won’t you stay with us a while.

Deep in the depths of a dark, dark pool
lives a water monster named Billy McCool

Protected

May 18, 2008

Protected

by Aoife Mannix

I don’t want a black umbrella
or a blue umbrella or a red umbrella
or even an umbrella with fancy letters,
I want a super hero umbrella that can help me fly,
for I don’t mind rain, but I do dislike pain,
and if that big fat bully comes near me again,
I want an umbrella with a hydraulic pump
that can shoot water so hard and so fast
it’ll knock him right on to his big fat ass,
and he’s sitting in a big fat puddle,
I want an umbrella that’ll get me out of there
on the double.

No I don’t want a black umbrella
or a blue umbrella or a red umbrella,
I want a superdoper fabalucia extra ella
special magic flying umbrella.