Friday, May 1, 2020
A fantastic resource which will give your students real insight
Frantic Assembly have been seeking ways to continue their outreach during lockdown, without the opportunity to run workshops or to perform. The answer they have come up with is ‘Frantic Digital’: a platform, in their own words, ‘designed to take you behind the scenes of the Frantic Method; sharing insights into the creative and rehearsal process (Frantic Flashbacks), practical creative tasks (Frantic Create) and fun, production related warm ups that can all be safely tried at home.’
The company plans to add new content each week, so at the time of writing I was able to explore content about Othello, Lovesong and Beautiful Burnout. Beginning with Othello, I watched a video of Scott Graham, recorded in his home, talking about the genesis of the production. There's a delightful directness about this medium – it's like having a one-to-one tutorial with Graham, and the video is intercut with images of production design drawings, video footage of rehearsal processes and so on. When Graham is talking about the approach the company took to violence in the production, he says ‘when I look back at the footage, I think we were only partially successful.’ I was immediately reminded of the portfolio that all students have to submit alongside their performances, outlining their process of development and evaluating the success of their final performance outcome. Here is the artistic director of a major respected theatre company – indeed, one which is recommended as a set practitioner for study on all exam boards – and he is doing exactly what students have to do, and acknowledging their limitations in the process. Great educational material for your students to watch – and completely free.
There are four ‘Frantic flashbacks’ videos on Othello, amounting to a total of around 120 minutes of interview footage with cast and creatives. Then in a ‘Frantic Create’ video, Frantic associate Simon Pittman leads viewers through a creative task inspired by the production (in his impossibly clean and tidy kitchen). He guides us through building blocks of physical creativity, from the way in which we interact with objects and surroundings, to building a sequence of movement and then polishing it, working on variations of pace, and so on. It's a drama lesson in its own right, and a fantastic practical insight into the way the company works, as is Scott Graham's second video which follows it, on editing text.
On top of all of this new content, the site contains links to the production educational resource packs, and even to the production soundtrack on Spotify. This new digital resource is a hugely valuable starting point for all your teaching of Frantic Assembly – something truly brilliant to come out of this difficult time.