COLLABORATIVE COLLISION OF THREE ARTISTS
After Birth is a collaboration between 3 artists from 3 art forms. The drawings by visual artist Naomi Kendrick, the monologues written by playwright Nicola Schofield, and the soundscapes composed by musician Jennifer Hardy presents a gentle collision of collaborative work. Set Designer David Haworth has created a beautiful space in which to house them, performed by Sara Abanur.
The 3 artists met and worked with each other since early 2017. Naomi is a visual artist from Portsmouth and also a workshop leader at Manchester Art Gallery. She runs workshops on mindfulness and also works directly with mother and baby groups and Health Visitors. Jennifer is a musician from Derry, Northern Ireland who has toured the UK and beyond and who has been creating music in response to the subject.
They are all working artists but also mothers who have been affected by the issues of mental health since having children, in Nicola's own case post natal depression.
For further reading on the collaboration between Naomi and Nicola, please click: deadrabbit-ablog.blogspot.com
NICOLA SCHOFIELD | The Monologues
I kept thinking about all the messy physical aspects of motherhood and how I’d never even heard of maternity pads till in pregnancy. Focusing on the first week of motherhood seemed a good way to explore this as so much happens: you have a new baby, you have experienced child birth and are suddenly attempting breast feeding (or bottle) and your body is trying to recover from this on no sleep and when you have massive responsibility. I was interested in the contrast of that high when the baby is born and then this sudden reality of nappies, feeding, bleeding, leaking and wanted to write it with honesty. Naomi created the image LEAK in response to the monologue which is perfect.
I wrote FEAR in response to Naomi’s piece Untitled No.9. It was black, white and grey and showed a small figure in the middle of darkness. It captured something to me about post-natal depression and the fear of being a new parent. I think all parents have these fears but post-natal depression means you become trapped in them 24/7. They become a constant negative inner dialogue that is exhausting. I wrote it quite differently to how I’d normally approach monologues and it was the first I wrote for After Birth. The mother is expressing all those inner most dark thoughts and fears and the impact she fears they will have on her being a mother.
With RISK I felt it was important to show the audience that post natal depression is something you can recover from. When you are in it you think it is the new normal, the new you. Therefore I wanted to look at diagnosis and the fears around that. At this point myself and Jenny had talked about the soundscape she was creating and I’d heard the beautiful SOFT as a demo. We wanted the journey’s to be parallel alongside Naomi’s art. The ‘risk’ is the fear of your child being taken away and how others will perceive you and this is what stops women getting help. You are afraid of people thinking you don’t love your child. I wanted to look at that mixture of not wanting help or people to know how you really feel juxtaposed with how desperate you are for help and for someone to understand. The diagnosis therefore triggers that inner battle of worry and relief but allows the possibility of hope – it will get better.
JENNIFER HARDY | The Soundscapes
Behind LEAK soundscape
‘Leak’ has been inspired by Nicola Schofield’s’ Leak’ monologue and Naomi Kendrick’s ‘Physicality of your Presence’ image. For this track I wanted to capture the vulnerability of both the mother and child after birth. I feel the vocals have a mournful yet euphoric quality that encapsulates the strength and fragility of the two souls. Mother and child have an innate and deep physical and emotional connection through their journey through pregnancy, childbirth and are both adjusting to their lives after birth.
Behind FEAR soundscape
‘Fear’ has been inspired by Nicola Schofield’s monologue ‘Fear’ and Naomi Kendrick’s ‘Brink’ image. This track represents the mundanity of domestic life. The tap dripping and the clock ticking are the foundation for this rhythmic piece. They are the endless tasks, the time passing too fast, not fast enough. The train represents the psychological treadmill, the demands, the negative internal voice, and ultimately descending into the darkness.
Behind RISK soundscape
Risk has been inspired by Nicola Schofield’s monologue ‘Risk’ and Naomi Kendrick’s ‘Untitled 4’ image. For me this track transcends hope. I have reversed the track ‘Leak’ to make ‘Risk’. It is starting again, changing but not forgetting the struggle. The original but a new version of the old.
DAVID HAWORTH│ The Set
I needed a fairly neutral background to offset the work of Naomi’s. I was drawn to her piece ‘Almost Edible’ with its subtle colours that suggested human skin, and creases that had a look of soft veins. Two of her untitled pieces that featured heavy creasing and crumpling of the paper also inspired my design. I wanted to blur the edges of the space with colour and texture and I wanted words to come out of the paper as if they had been freshly written, I played with depth of colour to suggest tone of voice and stressing of certain words. There is an element of ‘padded cell’ about the space and I was also trying to visually ‘get inside’ the mind of the character who speaks in the monologues. On a practical level I wanted the detail and tone of the set painting to frame the performance, frame the artwork and lead the audience gently by the hand around the space.