My new play vessel is my most ambitious to date, I have previously made work with one or two performers however vessel requires a cast of four diverse female performers to fully realise the themes of the piece. The form of vessel is conceived as a narrative of voices, with a powerful musicality derived from multiplicity, layering and repetition. The underpinning dramaturgy is how these voices are contained or liberated, how they are multiple or solo, whether the text is shared by all or owned by one. What differing resonances are heard when the same text is hosted within the diversity of the cast?
I am creating bespoke captions for each of the performers that makes the work accessible to Deaf/deaf/hard of hearing audiences and also represents the poetics of the script and illuminates the themes. The show will open at the Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts (ACCA) in October 2018 and undertake a three-week run at Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) in November, tour in Spring 2019 and then go to the Edinburgh Fringe August 2019.
Vessel thinks about how we hold our history and how our history holds us. It charts ethical, moral, spiritual & economic paths across the centuries to tangle historical & contemporary notions of withdrawal, silencing, containment and sovereignty. It is impossible to comprehend tackling such subjects if I, as Sue MacLaine Company, am not behaving ethically and morally with regards to working conditions. All of the creative team are wonders; kind, good, talented, generous people and I want appropriate remuneration for that talent and skill. The amount I am hoping to raise through this appeal is equivalent to the cost of one performer paying union wage plus subsistence & accommodation when working away from home.
To say a little more about the work: the idea began with the medieval practice of Anchoritism. It is believed in the period 11th - 15th century there were at least 780 English recluses (the most well-known being Julian of Norwich) on 601 sites and the current estimate is that 50 of these anchor-holds remain across the country.
Vessel contemplates the purpose of retreat, of the necessity for women of 'a room of one's own', a place that literally and metaphorically offers liberation. It explores the mundane, the habitual, the routine, the ordinary and proposes that radiance, and meaning can be found in everyday survival, in everyday dailiness.