So, to continue...
For the objects section, I chose a pair of sunglasses and a sea-shell plus the ‘smell’ of cheap aftershave, with which to construct a narrative for a new character.
We had to think of a context for the props, which was easy – holidays, beach etc.,) and think of them out of context as well. I found this bit really difficult! But got through it by thinking in terms of the objects being held on to in a fixated way. Smells of course are very evocative but I ended up not using it in my piece though I probably could have.
Then we were asked to think of adjectives that described our feelings about the props. I focused on nostalgia for the sea-shell (acquired on a happy holiday) and retro glamour for the sunglasses, along with the ability to hide behind them. David then dictated specific questions to us, which we then answered in character:
Q1: How old are you?
Q2: What do you do?
A: I sell vintage items on eBay.
Q3: Where are you from?
Q4: Where do you live?
Q5: How did you acquire these objects?
A: I got the shell from the beach in Hastings and the sunglasses from a boot-fair next to the beach.
Q6: What is your name?
A: Verity Northall.
Q7: What are you wearing?
A: A fifties polka-dot dress, flat shoes and a hand-knitted cardi.
Q8: What is your goal?
A: To capture the security and safety of the past, particularly my childhood, to deflect from an unhappy present.
Q9: What is your secret?
A: I was sexually assaulted on a Hastings beach by my uncle.
Q10: What’s your favourite word or saying?
A: ‘It could be worse’
Q11: What is the metaphor of the objects?
A: The sea-shell symbolises the end of an era of happiness. It was the last thing I picked up before the assault. The sunglasses were a way of hiding my red eyes from my family. They symbolise secrecy.
Q12: If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be?
A: A fireguard.
Q13: If you were the weather, what would you be?
A: Sunny but with clouds threatening rain.
Q14: And if you were a car?
A: A Ford Prefect.
A: A strawberry Nesquik.
A: A Chihuahua.
A: My Secret History by Paul Theroux.
‘The greatest thing I want in life is to be free of this dreadful gnawing anxiety. It makes me alone. I feel I can’t connect with anyone properly because if I did, I’d tell them The Secret and that will drive them away from me. No one wants soiled goods, someone who’s been interfered with, like me. I think it’s better to keep up appearances and pretend everything’s really alright on the surface. But it’s not alright underneath. I HATE seeing my family, especially HIM. He’s always asking me when I’m going to get married or do I have a boyfriend. He makes me feel sick. Just because he’s successful, we all have to kow-tow to him, the more so since he took up being a lay-preacher. He’s charismatic, Mum reckons. People come from miles around to hear him preach. Ugh! And so I have to go and join in. It’s important we show our faces, says Mum.I’d rather be checking my eBay site, finding new stock. Actually I don’t want to go out at all, at the moment. Too anxious. What might happen to me out there? I look at the shell and feel a little better. It was from that holiday in Hastings. It was easy to spot, so big and different from everything else. Like me. I found it the same day HE… but I can’t look at that. I remember afterwards I bought the sunglasses with the money HE gave me. I hid behind them so nobody could see I’d been crying.’
So there we have it. First draft stuff, but very freeing and certainly no room for the dread procrastination!
We didn’t half pack a lot into two hours and at a mere fiver I thought it excellent value for money.
I’m off to see ‘Borderland’ there on Saturday.