Mike writes about his residency, recordings, collaborations and turning trash into treasure :
Before my last blog things were proving difficult for the Deep Sea Treasure residency, but with a few lucky encounters and opportunities things have turned out pretty good! After seeing some of the strange and wonderful treasures Robin has collected we decided to host a making day to create our own treasures.
On the day a fantastic group of keen creative and inventive people turned up, who all embraced the Dizzy O’Dare style of destructive creativity. I have a huge collection of beautiful trash; old fashioned plug sockets and switches, lights from vintage cars, old keys and locks, dials, clocks, gauges etc and everyone was invited to dismantle or destroy anything they wished and then use the elements in as creative a way as possible. The results far surpassed anything I had expected. Numerous characters were made from keys, lights and random metal pieces, a beautiful octopus emerged made out of old VW headlights, an amazing bug was created out of a brass blow torch, and a wonderful mini Viking ship was created from a broken extension cord. The creations kept coming and it was such a joy to see what most consider as rubbish, given new life and turned into something truly original, artistic and beautiful.
A great opportunity for the project came via a chance encounter with local theatre group Play on Words. We were both aboard LV21 watching an amazing play One Way Ticket by Half Moon Presents, about children being shipped out to Australia during the war. The play was funny, very well crafted and extremely moving – I urge anyone who has the opportunity to go see it. After the play I started to regale Lily and Mim from Play on Words about the troubles I was encountering, and so we hatched a plan to work with the Play on Words youth group and devise a radio play… And so I started to produce my first radio play – I have made numerous films and theatre productions in the past and have performed in several radio plays, but I quickly came face to face with the problem of how to create a world with no visual references, only being able to use aural triggers to imply a time or setting. I started with a session recording Robin’s stories of life on the river and its history, my plan was to use these as the inspiration for my time with Play on Words, but actually the stories were so real coming from his mouth that I thought it better to use this recording and then use the Play on Words group to colour and illustrate the stories.
A week later I found myself observing the Play on Words youth group and it was clear from their first warm up that here was a group of very quick thinking, very imaginative and fearless actors, who would embrace whatever morsel of narrative was thrown their way; they dived in and gave it everything they could.
So after a few stressful non-starters, we have finally arrived with some wonderful creations, celebrating Robin’s treasure, and have immortalised some of his stories in my first radio production. I hope you take as much pleasure in listening to the final product as I did creating it.
Listen to the play now by clicking the link below.