Friday, 26 February 2010

Rehearsal report 10

I let the ‘Nature Nurture’ cast know about my ‘eureka’ moment and my realisation about the shape and form of the piece. I now believe that the piece is about the impact of the death of one of the children of the family, and the suppressed grief following the accident that caused the death. The accident/loss is the elephant in the room that no one speaks about and the ten minutes that we will show will give a sense of the ‘fall out’ of this incident.  

My aim is that the piece will have no meaningful dialogue and may possibly be in total silence.  The piece will illustrate the tension that the family live under, the strain of never ever speaking about what has happened, their relationships with each other and their loneliness (co-existing but not really connecting).

A Sound Designer will be joining us to make a sound scape to support the work.

I foresee that very little onstage action will occur.

The cast take the news in their stride once I explain that there won’t be a script but that this doesn’t mean they’ll be improvising; the exchanges that fill the space that the silence will be pre arranged and rehearsed and there’ll be cues and signposts.

We then look at the transcript from the previous long form improvisation session. This is possibly not the best thing to do after I’ve just announced that there’ll be no script and possibly no lines! It gives a mixed message and this confusion resonates throughout the rest of the session.

Our Designer arrives and we try out two prototypes for the jumper straight jacket and identify which one works best. Discussion takes place about costume for the characters.

We work through an improvisation game that explores communication through silence. The performers privately identify a ‘who, what and where’ and then illustrate this through communicating in silence. The results of this exercise are interesting. The communication works best when there is a true connection between the characters, when they make eye contact and we can see their mutual understanding of the situation.

Unfortunately our improvisation  is interrupted by music from the next rehearsal room. The rest of the session takes a turn for the worst and ceases to be productive. I am able to ascertain from the performers that they’d prefer to get on with making the work rather than trying out improvisations to establish technique, they are keen to work in character. I now know that this is how we must proceed at the next rehearsal.

Lessons learned through this session are that demonstration is better than telling. Having a sit down at the beginning of the session to ‘brief’ the performers is not as effective as facilitating their performance immediately. Rather than telling them there would be no script and describing to them how I see the piece working, it would have been more useful to bring them into the scene and asking them to perform silently in character for a while, to explore not speaking and the space that silence facilitates, to listen to the silences and to find meaning in them. The performers would then have a sense of my aim on a physical/performance level and they would know how a scene could work like this. 

Posted via web from northerncreative's posterous

No comments: