This week something rather special happened. It was only a small thing – but somehow it counts for a lot…
Kaleider, the company I am Director of, is putting on its first show at the end of this week. It’s a show I originally made two years ago with my 2nd year undergraduate “Multimedia Performance” students. The module was 12 weeks long and this time I meant what I said to them on the first day: “I’ve got absolutely no idea what show we’re going to make”.
The module was designed to give the students the chance to make their own work, then remake it, and then make a show together in the final week. Somehow in the penultimate week I found myself writing weeks of experimenting into You With Me. We put it on in a week and, by all accounts, it was a huge success.
People ask me now where the idea came from and the honest answer is I’m not sure. But I think it emerged in that space of unknowing that is often so creative if you can only hold it open for long enough to let the periphery sneak in.
So when Kaleider began in April I approached graduating student Rachael Burton, who had produced the student show, and asked if her new company, Reverb, might like to do a co-production with Kaleider to put it on professionally. Rachael and her Co-Director Zach Price agreed.
This is a ridiculous show to put on – it has up to 20 cast members for only 5 audience at one time. It uses thousands and thousands of mobile phone minutes. It is outside… in winter. It is expensive to put on and logistically one of the most complex shows I’ve made. It carries all sorts of risks. But if Kaleider isn’t here to take some risks then I’m not sure what it is here for.
So we’ve managed those risks into the project and not out. What results is a show (that’s the best word I can find for it – you may have a better one) that’s form is complex to describe, that’s content is almost impossible to describe until you’ve experienced it (because it will be unique to each audience member), and produced by two new companies in Exeter where audiences aren’t all that used to work of this kind.
If you book for the show you are asked to be in a certain place at a certain time and call a mobile number from your phone. The show then plays out across Exeter City Centre for 45 minutes. It isn’t scary at any point and you are in control of your own movements and decisions throughout the show.
So what’s it about? Well I guess its about lots of things but I would say this: For me it is about the moment the blue whale takes a deep breath, upends, flicks its tale, and dives deep deep down into the dark blue depths. If you do the show let’s talk that one out in the pub.
So we’ve observed in the run up to the show that the price point we put the show at was too big a risk for some of our potential audience. Combine that with the newness of the companies and the newness of the form to Exeter and we found people weren’t opting in.
So this week we’ve done two things. We re-structured the pricing of the show to be Pay As Much As You Can and we bought 5 more phones to lend audience members should they wish not to use their own phone and minutes for the call. We want people to do this show.
So what’s the special thing that’s happened? Well after we made this decision yesterday we wrote to all of the people who had prebooked as some had paid the full ticket price of £20. We offered them the opportunity to pay what they wanted. A note came back from one which said simply I’m happy paying £20 as a donation.
So to that person: thank you so much, your £20 is £20, your gesture is invaluable.
You With Me runs for 45 minutes.
Shows are at 10am, 11am, 12 noon, 2pm and 3pm on every Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 17th November to December 9th.
Pay as much as you can.
Do book early as places are limited and booking closes the day before the performance day so no walk-up available.