Tuesday, December 27

Feedback session - transcript

I was pretty exhausted after the feedback session I have to say... it felt more like a viva.. and there are a few reasons for this. It wasnt like the other work in progress shows which were beginnings of what would be the final show - where people could suggest which bits worked, which bits need changing etc. It demanded a different type of feedback.. and i guess I should take it as a compliment that it provoked so many questions! But it was quite intimidating being faces with all those questions and some of my answers, as i had to answer on the spot, seem a bit funny now. I quite wish i'd had a bit more feedback and audience opinons rather than just questions, but i did get some from individuals afterwards.. anyway, learning experience, and it was very useful.. here it is....

(This is very paraphrased to make it more clear:)


Q> In your show you use 'barbie girl' in amongst some very renouned songs, was that to set an opposition?

Lail> It was partly to undercut..but also i chose it because its about a barbie girl.. totally superficial and constructed..

Q> But how does music that has that popular aspect of entertainment fit within the notion of honesty?

Lail> I think barbie girl is actually a very honest song!....a to-the-point, social critique song. (I feel like im still on stage now! well i am..i guess..)

Q> Where do you plan to go with this because its still quite ambiguous as to what you believe? How do you plan to develop it?

Lail> I think I'm much clearer now than when i first started about my views on honesty in performance.. i think i was more naive to begin with. In terms of the final show, i dont think it will necessarily address the issues so directly. Here i wanted to reflect the thought process. In the final show if the ideas come across thats great, it means i've done my job properly, but it it wont give an answer or a conclusion to the questions posed here lets say.

Q> This isnt really a question. It just reminded me of a lot of new bands that are coming out now who are singing in their local dialects from across england.. I think thats very much about honesty.

Q> Where are you going with the feminist aspect of this?

Lail> Its not something that I consciously wanted to bring feminist theory into it, but it is something that keeps popping up, like a little parallel ... i guess that was gonna happen in looking at image and identity.

Q> Do you think you bring your identity as a female into it?

Lail> Well a lot of the singer-songwriters i was looking at and the stuff I played you - the stuff i listen to - is female singers, I guess that is somehow significant, but its not something I am really conscious of - me as a female singer, as opposed to just a singer..

Lail Q> What did people think of the song, did it explore the ideas?

Response> I dont know if I was the only one but there was something about that first part of the song that made me feel very uncomfortable, cause it wasnt something I could extrapolate out like.. a removed subject like a lost love, it was constantly undercutting that and trying to make me adress the fact that it was me listening to you. [the a capella section]. Once you got behind that piano and the lights came on and it was more theatrical I could take a more passive role..

Lail> Thats interesting cause I felt like I was being much more manipulative in the second section.

Response> Yeah but in a way that I was sitting here say 'manipulate me'. [Laughs!]

Q> When you were singing the first part of the song were you being yourself?

Lail> I dont know.. I was performing, there's not doubt about that. All the way through the song though, I was in some ways closer to 'me' than most of you have ever seen, because I was dealing with the subjects that are me.. if you know what I mean.

Q> Did you feel comfortable singing the first part of the song?

Lail> I think that I probably tried to make myself look more unconfortable than I was to get the lyrics across...
The fact that you felt uncomfortable is probably because you thought I looked uncomfortable..

Q> Its just that you seemed more more comfortable as soon as you got behind the piano.

Lail> Oh no, I was more comfortable in the first section cause I didnt have to worry about playing the piano!!

Q> It seemed to me like you were building up to a point (the song) that said 'this is be being absolutely stripped to a state of truthfulness and honest'. But it does seem to me that there are two levels of truthfulness and honestly. And one is that presentation as in the first section of the song. But there is also that scenic truthfulness as well, which is actually within the context of presentation of all that other material as well. And its a complex sort of situation in performance where sometimes truthfulness within the scenic context is slightly different in the way you achieve it from that sort of personal/theatrical stripped down version of truthfulness where there is nothing else there, to as it were nuance the final sort of performance.

Lail> Silence. because i didnt understand that at all!! can anyone help me with this?!

Q> What do you consider untruth in performance?

Lail> Is a negative way?

Q> No.. no value attached... you gave us examples presumably of things you though were honest performances..

Lail> Not only... I dont think Bob Dylan was being honest in any of that.. I think there is untruth in every performance. As a negative thing I could say i think there is less truth maybe in certain types of pop music lets say...i can criticise the superficiality.. say that it doesnt effect me as much..when its just entertainment for its own sake.... but as a no-value-attached notion, i would say there is untruth even in the song i just sang. In everything.

Q> How do you think all of this affects the audience? And does that really matter in the end?

Lail> I have thought, if someone is a great actor and acts being truthful, and another singer is just being really truthful, but the audeince doesnt know them and cant tell the difference, then what does it matter... but... the thing that makes a song interesting for me is that I feel the singer is being truthful (either way) - so yes, as an effect on the audience i do think its very important.

Q> Why do you think big spectacle pop shows are the most popular these days?

Lail> Well cause it is 'entertainment'...its easier.

Q> Do you think integrity and truth are the same thing, is there something in performance about truth that integrity resists more?

Lail> Yeah, thats really good.. Integrity. Yeah.. interesting.

Q> I was thinking anout what would be truth in a singing context... Something that comes from deep inside the artist - the honest emotional or political agenda - and then moves us as the audience. Is this artistic truth or truth on stage only conveyed by stripping down to the bare essentials - the artist just standing there, house lights etc - or do we sometimes need to use the theatrical devices, the magic, to bring this truth across. Diderot said that to convey the true emotional state 'tears have to come from the brain' and then it looks authentic - if it comes form the heart and is authentic its over the top it looks fake- its called actually 'a paradox in theatre'. What are your thoughts on this?

Lail> I havent heard of it before..I dont know if I agree with it,,,, but its interesting... i think i would always want the emotion to be real... but i guess the real tears dont have to be there in the moment... maybe for acting i would agree more easily than for singing. But i dont know actually.. i really like the idea..


(This is very paraphrased to make it more clear:)


Q> In your show you use 'barbie girl' in amongst some very renouned songs, was that to set an opposition?

Lail> It was partly to undercut..but also i chose it because its about a barbie girl.. totally superficial and constructed..

Q> But how does music that has that popular aspect of entertainment fit within the notion of honesty?

Lail> I think barbie girl is actually a very honest song!....a to-the-point, social critique song. (I feel like im still on stage now! well i am..i guess..)

Q> Where do you plan to go with this because its still quite ambiguous as to what you believe? How do you plan to develop it?

Lail> I think I'm much clearer now than when i first started about my views on honesty in performance.. i think i was more naive to begin with. In terms of the final show, i dont think it will necessarily address the issues so directly. Here i wanted to reflect the thought process. In the final show if the ideas come across thats great, it means i've done my job properly, but it it wont give an answer or a conclusion to the questions posed here lets say.

Q> This isnt really a question. It just reminded me of a lot of new bands that are coming out now who are singing in their local dialects from across england.. I think thats very much about honesty.

Q> Where are you going with the feminist aspect of this?

Lail> Its not something that I consciously wanted to bring feminist theory into it, but it is something that keeps popping up, like a little parallel ... i guess that was gonna happen in looking at image and identity.

Q> Do you think you bring your identity as a female into it?

Lail> Well a lot of the singer-songwriters i was looking at and the stuff I played you - the stuff i listen to - is female singers, I guess that is somehow significant, but its not something I am really conscious of - me as a female singer, as opposed to just a singer..

Lail Q> What did people think of the song, did it explore the ideas?

Response> I dont know if I was the only one but there was something about that first part of the song that made me feel very uncomfortable, cause it wasnt something I could extrapolate out like.. a removed subject like a lost love, it was constantly undercutting that and trying to make me adress the fact that it was me listening to you. [the a capella section]. Once you got behind that piano and the lights came on and it was more theatrical I could take a more passive role..

Lail> Thats interesting cause I felt like I was being much more manipulative in the second section.

Response> Yeah but in a way that I was sitting here say 'manipulate me'. [Laughs!]

Q> When you were singing the first part of the song were you being yourself?

Lail> I dont know.. I was performing, there's not doubt about that. All the way through the song though, I was in some ways closer to 'me' than most of you have ever seen, because I was dealing with the subjects that are me.. if you know what I mean.

Q> Did you feel comfortable singing the first part of the song?

Lail> I think that I probably tried to make myself look more unconfortable than I was to get the lyrics across...
The fact that you felt uncomfortable is probably because you thought I looked uncomfortable..

Q> Its just that you seemed more more comfortable as soon as you got behind the piano.

Lail> Oh no, I was more comfortable in the first section cause I didnt have to worry about playing the piano!!

Q> It seemed to me like you were building up to a point (the song) that said 'this is be being absolutely stripped to a state of truthfulness and honest'. But it does seem to me that there are two levels of truthfulness and honestly. And one is that presentation as in the first section of the song. But there is also that scenic truthfulness as well, which is actually within the context of presentation of all that other material as well. And its a complex sort of situation in performance where sometimes truthfulness within the scenic context is slightly different in the way you achieve it from that sort of personal/theatrical stripped down version of truthfulness where there is nothing else there, to as it were nuance the final sort of performance.

Lail> Silence. because i didnt understand that at all!! can anyone help me with this?!

Q> What do you consider untruth in performance?

Lail> Is a negative way?

Q> No.. no value attached... you gave us examples presumably of things you though were honest performances..

Lail> Not only... I dont think Bob Dylan was being honest in any of that.. I think there is untruth in every performance. As a negative thing I could say i think there is less truth maybe in certain types of pop music lets say...i can criticise the superficiality.. say that it doesnt effect me as much..when its just entertainment for its own sake.... but as a no-value-attached notion, i would say there is untruth even in the song i just sang. In everything.

Q> How do you think all of this affects the audience? And does that really matter in the end?

Lail> I have thought, if someone is a great actor and acts being truthful, and another singer is just being really truthful, but the audeince doesnt know them and cant tell the difference, then what does it matter... but... the thing that makes a song interesting for me is that I feel the singer is being truthful (either way) - so yes, as an effect on the audience i do think its very important.

Q> Why do you think big spectacle pop shows are the most popular these days?

Lail> Well cause it is 'entertainment'...its easier.

Q> Do you think integrity and truth are the same thing, is there something in performance about truth that integrity resists more?

Lail> Yeah, thats really good.. Integrity. Yeah.. interesting.

Q> I was thinking anout what would be truth in a singing context... Something that comes from deep inside the artist - the honest emotional or political agenda - and then moves us as the audience. Is this artistic truth or truth on stage only conveyed by stripping down to the bare essentials - the artist just standing there, house lights etc - or do we sometimes need to use the theatrical devices, the magic, to bring this truth across. Diderot said that to convey the true emotional state 'tears have to come from the brain' and then it looks authentic - if it comes form the heart and is authentic its over the top it looks fake- its called actually 'a paradox in theatre'. What are your thoughts on this?

Lail> I havent heard of it before..I dont know if I agree with it,,,, but its interesting... i think i would always want the emotion to be real... but i guess the real tears dont have to be there in the moment... maybe for acting i would agree more easily than for singing. But i dont know actually.. i really like the idea..

Q> Do you think songs are more honest if the lyrics are written first or the tune?

Lail> I dont think there are rules. I tend to write the lyrics first but i dont think thats important.

Q> Is that notion of real or honesty something that is important more for yourself, or more that the audience believe your song is infested in it. With Dylan for example he was very evasive about answering questions on the songs.. Billie Holiday had the motional weight of the backstory before she even opened her mouth.. and With Joni Mitchell people were queueing up to say how torn and tortured she was when she was writing those songs. But is that really pertinent and relevant for the theatrical moment and is it pertinent for the listener?

Lail> I guess that I'm coming at it from a very selfish point of you as well, because I want to be a singer, thats why I chose this project, thats the view i see it from.... but... I do think its important for the audience as well... cause if it doesnt have that truthful core then..the singer cant give as much and the audience cant get as much? maybe thats a bit cryptic, but i think it goes two ways..


>OK.. Thank you very much

Lail> Thank You very much!