Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Rehearsal report 16

The cast of all three components of ‘Elephant in the Room’ assemble along with Hannah (design), Naomi (lighting) and Maddie (sound).

My plan for the evening is to do a couple of runs of the whole piece and to look at/think about moving set and props on and off in between the scenes.

It takes a while to get the sound equipment set up so we run ‘Nature Nurture’ with me reading in the sound cues rather than playing the sound scape. The cast are in costume and Tanja’s performance of Jean comes together rather magically.

I think the absence of the sound scape is actually helping the performers settle into the piece a little bit. There has been a lot of frenetic activity around the sound scape and this has been going on while the performers were rehearsing and I suspect that this has been upsetting the balance a little bit. Tanja had expressed something along these lines at a previous rehearsal and now I think I can see where she was coming from with this.

Dean doesn’t seem at ease with what is required of him as Frank. I know that Dean is a strong performer and his input into the devising process has been so valuable. I feel like I have disabled him by taking the spoken word away from him. I’ve deprived him of his language. I am not skilled enough as director to support Dean to bring the performance to fruition. I think that my direction might actually be making it more difficult for him.

We run each piece and coordinate the scene changes.

It’s very strange having made three pieces of work and running them together with the cast of the other two pieces watching. There’s a slightly unnerving silence after each piece has finished. I think this is the part where I’m supposed to give notes. I can almost hear what’s in the thoughts of the people watching (this didn’t work, this is a bit flat, why isn’t she saying/doing anything?) but it doesn’t seem right to start trying to give notes and to fix problems when there are people watching. Maybe if I’m in similar situation in the future I’ll set the rehearsal room up so that the other people present in the room are not sitting as ‘audience’ and are instead seated in another kind of position, or maybe even in another room altogether (wishful thinking!!). I’m also very aware that I should utilise whoever is present rather than have them sitting around at a lose end. Perhaps if I were able to pay people I wouldn’t feel this pressure but as the performers are all generously giving their time I don’t want to waste it.

Perhaps my decision to rehearse this way has been counter-productive and I would be better off spending time working on individual pieces right through to the tech rehearsal.

One of the positives is that the performers get to run the pieces without interference from me so they begin to take even more responsibility and to try things out. I see some wonderful glimmers of characterisation and moments and touches of truth that I couldn’t have ever directed.

Satisfied that the scene changes have been addressed I send Ruth, Sarah Lou and Harriet home and focus on Nature Nurture again. This time with the sound scape.

Dean is not happy, he doesn’t feel that he’s achieving his potential. I don’t know how to fix this. Dean says he thinks he’ll need longer before he finds his way into the performance. I’m aware that what I’m asking him to do is extremely complex and I reassure him of this. In an ideal world, and if I could do it all over again, I would have allowed more time for the performers to come to terms with the piece. I suggest that he relaxes and doesn’t worry. A lot of the performance is fine, it’s just not the very high standard that Dean is used to delivering.  We record one particularly problematic section of the sound scape on my dictaphone and I agree to download this and to email it to him so he can rehearse and get used to the timing away from the rehearsal room.

My tutor is present for this rehearsal and he catches me at the end of the session and gives notes. He thinks that collectively the piece is quite static and makes several suggestions for movement in the space. I take his notes on board and will endeavour to rectify. However, tech rehearsal is on Thursday and the remaining time to fix this kind of thing is so limited that I’m unsure what I’ll be able to achieve.

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