April 2nd 2019 our devising workshop focused on a form for developing a plot line. This is somewhat in advance of the 'Composition workshops when we select and shape devised moments into a play. Right now we are still in the devising frame of mind but it's useful for people to know the process of composition because I think it will help them identify what might be most useful to remember from our devising sessions. I'm asking people now to make drawings or some other forms of aide memoir of 'moments' in the devising workshops that most captured their attention. A drawing with a title is the most useful and immediate. These then might help compose a storyboard later on.
"The Hero's Journey' is a helpful guide to finding characters and developing a plot. Joseph Campbell presented the original concept in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Christopher Vogler has since both simplified and provided new insights in his book “The Writer’s Journey’. A memo he wrote about the form when he was working for Disney studios spread throughout Hollywood and has been hugely influential with such as George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg. It’s really a description of the elements that exist in every story ever told. It not intended as a formula and we shouldn’t use it as such but it does name elements of a story and archetypes that will be of use to us.
Want More on The Hero's Journey?
Watch the short above or try this other You Tube Link below to a little film with some interesting viewpoints, illustrated throughout by a group of Children.
LEGENDS OF THE ROCKS & WHAT WE KNOW
The Hero's Journey is one that takes us from the Known World, our everyday life into the Unknown world, in our case the world of the Stone People. In this narrative model this is what we know about the The Ordinary World (1) and what is beyond in the Unknown World when we Cross the Threshold (5) :
The Ordinary World- What we Know (1)
Time and Location of our story: Today 2019 Toad Rock, Denny Bottom, Rusthall; possibly also Bulls Hollow or Apsley Street.
The area was once the bottom of a freshwater Lake.
Nigel Stapple believes the area around Toad Rock is a prehistoric ritual site. There has been a cluster of Mesolithic finds. Mesolithic people lived 6000 to 8000 years ago. Springs and water were venerated at that time and Nigel believes the site was so venerated. He believes there is a stone circle directly behind Toad Rock; In 1900 the stone circle existed on maps. The stone circle may well have been a barrow not necessarily for people but possibly for buildings. There is also a passageway behind Toad Rock where there are 2 levels of erosion one possibly caused by bare feet and sandals and the other by modern day harder shoes form the 1800’s onwards. There may also be a semi stone circle below Toad Rock; it’s so large it can only be seen from above. Nigel thinks man may well have helped formed The Toad as it is so different from any other natural rock formations. Rusthall was originally called Hungershall. Medieval quarrying involved splitting stones for stone circles etc. There is no evidence of modern quarrying. Demand for stone started in 1650’s. Qualified archaeologists have overlooked the site. Wellington rocks were heavily quarried in the 1800s so the hotels on Mount Ephraim would have a better view.
The New World -What we know (6)
Stone people are born as stone and over time they become flesh. The stone people have to go to ‘birthing places’ (areas of exposed rock) to find their children. Stone people can be born in rivers and oceans when they will reawaken as water creatures. Sometimes they will be dug out trees that grow out of the rocks. Toad Rock is a sacred ‘birth place’ that was once covered by a fresh water Lake and many years ago the stone people were born as water creatures, fish, newts and frogs, until the lake dried up. The Toad is an ancient God of the stone people and a symbol of their past lives.
Women are obliged to dig for babies, “they’re waiting for us”. Their mothers are destined to find them; they know and recognise their own baby. Families might consult ‘Finders’ who sense where the mother should dig for her child in dousing and birthing ceremonies when the ‘Finders encircle the mother holding long dousing rods they beat ground and do ritual passing of the rods. Children and parents are destined to find each other. When they Stone people die they become stone and return to the earth retaining their knowledge and memory of past lives.
When the woman digs for a child she might accidentally split it so she then has to give it back to the earth where it reforms over several years. Stone people have a time when they must return to the ground, they are reluctant to go back as they remember what they call “the long wait”. They return to earth to absorb the collective knowledge of all the rocks. The earth is therefor imbued with intelligence, knowledge and wisdom far greater than our own
When rocks return or reawaken after the long wait they will have changed form, and come back as sparrows, animals, men or women. Stone people always return older and wiser than in their previous lives, they only age underground. In their final return, as toads, they are the eldest they will ever be. Toads are the highest order because they are returned heroes prepared to sacrifice themselves for the Tribe. They are therefor sacred - a life to be diligently protected. The death of a toad is a warning that life on earth is under threat, that the world is poisoned.
The Stone People live in a different dimension to us, they inhabit the same ground but beneath us. When we bury our dead we place them closer to the dimension the stone people live in. They lie there sleeping and the Stone Women tend them. We are oblivious to the stone people but to them we are dark shadows and our actions are impinging on their world.
When the Quarrymen of our world started removing stone they removed many of the Stone People’s ancestors. The stones the quarrymen took were used for building Tunbridge Wells so many stone ancestors lay trapped in the building.
And then the Toad Stone* was taken. Since which time the no stone person has been reborn and they are fast diminishing in numbers.
Among the recorded Victorian names of rocks is The Bloodstain, known to other sources as the Bleeding Rock. It is generally understood as a spot where dripping water left an iron stain, but no site fitting this description can be pointed out today. It needs to be found. It could mark the place where the stone people’s spiritual leader was split.
Another fact: From ancient times people associated the fossils with jewels that were set inside the heads of toads. The toad has poison glands in its skin, so it was naturally assumed that they carried their own antidote and that this took the form of a magical stone. They were first recorded by Pliny the Elder in the first century.
Could it be one and the same stone?
Many of the leaders followers wear a mallet round their necks in memory of he who took the stone. The Stone Tribe pays annual homage to the Toad Rock on the middle day of they year. He is their greatest hero about whom many stories of bravery are told of his previous lives.
If the bloodstone was returned, perhaps it may reawaken the stone people and if the fleshlings were to revive their long lost ritual of dressing the Toad and talking to the rocks perhaps the stones may share their wisdom, and by listening to the earth we might save it.
We have started learning how the stone people talk to each other
WHO IS OUR HERO?
One of many questions we may want to ask is who are contenders to seek adventure and travel to the world of the Stone people? And for why or for what do they seek? Please discuss. Better still come to our next Devising Session