Music has always been something that has truly inspired me to create work. Some pieces just ignite such images that a story comes to you immediately. Some just ignite the motivation to just create something.
On 19th of September, this ignition fired itself in me as I was listening to the great Abel Korzeniowski’s work on the brilliant Tom Ford film, A Single Man. As I was lying on my bed feeling useless and bored, I turned on my iTunes and started playing the album. I thought it would help me meditate but instead I just felt like I needed to do something. In my head images started appearing and I just thought to myself “I can just film this..”
The idea changed as I stood in front of the mirror about to prepare myself to be filmed.Stillness of the Mind was playing. I decided to just turn the camera on and start filming this. I planned on just doing a very short film of someone getting ready, everyday activity, and what is beneath it. Something that is done so well in A Single Man.
As the camera was rolling, my mind was racing. I was in this mind, this idea of needed to get myself prepared for going out, for being seen. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I was reminded of how I had to fix my hair, my face, make sure I didn’t get certain parts of my body in shot, etc. My impulses took over and I just started to do anything. What the film turned into was something much different to what I thought it was going to be. It became to be about how tiring it can get sometimes to just be. To just exist. It was an experiment and above is the outcome.
So, on Friday, the 9th of September, Buttercups celebrated the night that it was finally open to the public audience. It was really something.
Performing it felt brilliant. I found myself truly lost in the character and the moment. All through rehearsals I tried to apply all I had learnt from Sam Boardman-Jacob during the last two shows. I really concentrated and focused through the show and living in the moment was one thing I felt I had achieved.
The show had nothing to do with who was watching it or that it was being marked. It was only about this Little Girl telling her story. The recreation of scenes felt there. It was about seeing what I said I was seeing.
The show seemed to have come at a prime time. A story about one of the most devastating disasters in Wales being told on the weekend of the 10th anniversary of one of the most devastating disasters I had ever known - 9/11. This added an understanding of what the Little Girl was going through. I felt even more of a connection because it was not only the 166 lost people and their families that called for empathy from me, but also the 2,819 lost people and their families that were in my thoughts. Throughout rehearsals I found myself thinking about all the disastrous events that I remember and all those people involved. Like the tsunami in 2004 that claimed the lives of over 225,000, and the Haiti earthquake in 2010 that most estimates of lost now exceed 220,000 people and still counting. All of these have brought this piece so much closer to home. What Donna had gone through and all these people was unimaginable and to act in a piece portraying their story was an honour.
The feedback given was incredible. In my personal opinion, it deserved it. Donna wrote a beautiful memoir of what happened that day. It was a great privilege to be involved and I can’t wait to do it again!
By far one of the worst days of my life. I remember it like it was yesterday! I was in South Africa, a young 11 yr old, horse-riding and acting enthusiast, who had just completed a riding lesson when my 16yr old aunt told me that World War Three had started. I was baffled and scared. Driving home, I was confused at what had happened, don’t think I even knew what the Twin Towers were until I had gotten home and witnessed the South Tower get hit. The landmark symbols of so many films, everything that depict New York for me was slowly burning to the ground. My mother was crying on the couch watching the news and I walked in and it hit me. The numbers of people in those beautiful buildings. What it actually meant was happening. What seemed like something that could only happen in a movie was happening in real time on my screen at home.
As I cry now, watching the memorial services, I remember how, even as a young 11yr old girl, I bled for all those who were affected. I, even then, realised how much pain and suffering would be felt that day. However, it is now as I have grown that I realise the pain it has caused for a lifetime. That day 10years ago will stay with me forever. It touches my soul and when I feel the urge to complain, I remember this pain and count my blessings. These disasters and wasted life hurts my soul and I shed tears for all those who have ever been touched by all that is happening now, in the wars, those who are still missing those they have lost, those who are still physically and mentally wounded by that day, all of you. Every single person will remember that day and it will stick with us forever. My love to all of those who have ever been affected by that day, past, present and future.
I am sorry this may seem in a bit of a shambles but this is more of a stream of consciousness. I am so full of mixed emotions I felt I needed to say something. Please, lets live our lives full of love, compassion and peace.
Love to all and my thoughts with everyone on this day!
Donna Griffiths was just under four years old when she witnessed the Aberfan disaster which claimed the life of 144 people, 116 of whom were children. She, along with countless others, did not discuss her feelings and memories until she was older. Now, many years after the events that inspire the tale, as a fledgling practitioner, she presents Buttercups, ”a leafing through the pages of memoirs - real and imagined - of survivors.”
Buttercups, is an original, experimental approach for the telling of a story which, though personal to the author, explores differing reactions to the burden of knowledge.
What happens when we keep secrets? Are the reverberations still felt by those around us? Do we sometimes say too much? Is the pain of survival - the guilt shared by countless thousands across the globe who have remained while those they loved were lost - ever soothed by the passing of time? Or does it simmer in a timeless cauldron waiting for the stirring of remembrance to resurrect the blistering spillage of eternal tears?
Ifan Rhys Herridge
Marie Suzanne Todd
Performed in the Atrium Theatre in Cardiff, September 9th, 2011.