It doesn’t matter how many of these kinds of interacting playing theatre I make, some things are just impossible to plan for. In the way that Boho makes work, in general and for this show in particular, there are three elements in the mix: the science, the games and the story. No one element takes precedence, but some parts definitely coalesce earlier in the process than others.
Over the first two weeks of this final development, we pulled the show’s structure apart, returned to the basic science principles we’re grounding this show on, and made sure that the show’s skeleton and interactive mechanisms communicated these ideas in the best possible way. That was vital to get done first, and now the show feels as if it has a strong and flexible basis on which to place the ideas and story.
The next stage is the one that has often tripped us up in the past: generating the content. Although this show doesn’t have a ‘forking paths’ choose-your-own-adventure structure, there are countless ways in which the audiences choices and actions can lead to different outcomes, change the story, or impact on later games. The mechanics of that are just about all worked out – now the challenge is to put flesh on the bones.
In short, we need to write a huge volume of script, tailored to a vast variety of contingencies. In previous projects, this has often come late in the game, and results in the text and story elements of the show being underserved. Here, we’ve given ourselves the time necessary to get these elements right, but it’s always a sobering moment when you first come up against the brute fact of how much text there actually is to write. And of course, every line of text will need to be rewritten, and rewritten, refined and fine-tuned just as much as in a more typical narrative script. The show must be subjected to the same dramaturgical processes that you’d apply to any other developing performance text.
That’s the challenge that’s occupying my mind right now. And in the midst of that is the other perpetual challenge when scripting a text with multiple devising artists: how to synthesise our voices in to one coherent show tone?
It’s a big job, but it’s a nice reflection on how far we’ve come together on this project that we’ve been able to produce as much material as we have in just a few days. And we have more to go. So, back to it.
My question: How can we best utilise our five pairs of hands to create the best unified work?