Crew diary: Movement Director Sarah Cotterill – luxury and filth

Crew diary: Movement Director Sarah Cotterill talks

Throughout the development of Hedgepig’s production of The Maids, one individual has become instrumental in helping us realise the performance style we’ve been aspiring to – our Movement Director Sarah Cotterill.

Joining us for the first time, Sarah has brought a huge level of detail and imagination to the performances and staging of The Maids – creating physical elements that are beautiful, terrifying, grotesque and tender.

We asked Sarah to tell us a bit more about her approach:

Sarah Cotterill - Movement Director

I was really excited to be doing movement direction on The Maids, as it is a very visceral text, the language and narrative screaming for many layers of gesture and physicality.

The main aspect that fascinates me is this relationship between Solange and Claire, inhabiting this one house, one room even, where they are at liberty to play out their wildest fantasies when Madame is away. They play, they imagine, they dream: the characters in their employer’s life, very much part of their own.
Their co-existence is at times fraught, extremely sheltered, but all the while an amalgam of maternal and incestuous emotion. This balance is a fine one to strike, so developing a physical language that underpins the action has been a challenge.
This week we have been focusing on the ceremonies, the elements of fantasy within the Maids’ lives. They enact hatched plans involving Madame, often switching roles to envision worlds outside their window, spurred on by the tales they have read and trials they have heard.
We have been looking ritual within the body, and a 19th century gestural language that aided us in creating sequences that the Maids can use to prepare for their ceremonies. In exploring these sequences, playing with tempo, contact, and different rhythms, we have been able to inject some energy into the scenes, whilst unlocking elements of the Maids’ twisted minds.
I’ve really latched on to the tactility of the language and the real baseness the emerges from this idea of ‘luxury and filth’. In this claustrophobic setting, the audience should hopefully witness two wild animals, clawing at an uncertain future.
Do you think I find it pleasant to know that my foot is shrouded by the veils of your saliva? By the mists of your swamps?
(Genet)

Hedgepig Theatre’s The Maids runs from 21st May – 6th June 2015 in venues across Yorkshire: 

21st May 2015 at Rural Arts Courthouse, Thirsk
www.ruralarts.org

29th May 2015 at Seven Arts Theatre, Leeds
www.sevenleeds.co.uk

4th-6th June 2015 The Fleeting Arms, York – including a 2pm Saturday matinee.
Tickets from York Theatre Royal

Find out more about The Maids >