Idle Acts is a film (work in progress) developed with a group of acting enthusiasts in Beeston, South Leeds and shot by cinematographer Lou Macnamara in summer 2019.
The film unfolds through a series of twelve acts, asking you to temporarily suspend reality whilst moving through various everyday and surreal stories and enactments. The actors play and replay events, chance encounters, overheard or imagined scenarios, characters and contexts slipping between fact and fiction - like a mix of reality TV, soap opera or documentary.
The themes or storylines for the vignettes originated in group conversations around
spatial justice, coexistence and how space is (re)produced socially.
Building and playing with the definition of ‘third places’ - as places where you relax in public, where you encounter familiar faces and make new acquaintances.
Material for the film is a mixture of wild footage of the area and devised acts, made through an intensive four days with the actors - convened through an open call. During this time the group talked, played and generated prompts based on neighbours, local sites, personal and collective anecdotes. These were collated to form a card game for improvisation.
Taking our cue from exercises in Augustus Boals Games for Actors and Non-actors, the role-play scenarios were then discussed, reworked, reframed and filmed in and around the Working Men’s Club where we gathered.
The film is both record and outcome of this contingent moment. It asks us about the undercommmons (Stefano Harney & Fred Moten) and the view from the ground.
It holds in it the potential we have when we play, to
embody other people’s realities, and mix them with our own.
At once exploring multiple modes of space occupation, in order to reclaim the right to physical, and imaginary, space.
The film was first installed and screened at Rowland Road Working Men’s Club August 2019, at the end of our residency at Artist House 45. We are currently working on edits of the film and seeking additional support and spaces to share it. Please contact us if you are interested in viewing the full work.
Special thanks to: Rowland Road Working Men’s Club and the actors that lent us their trust: Chris Kellet, Phil Pearce, Dean Holmes, Charlene Holmes, Lily Mae Firth, Celia Borthwick, Rachel Sharp, Mo Bah and Tayyiba Islam. Cinematographer: Lou Macnamara. Sound: Martha Adebambo.
Funded by the Arts Council England, Leeds Inspired and East Street Arts.