Friday, 4 March 2011

Getting to know you

This is the first time we met Duncan, our new Arnold. I admit, I am nervous. I know Duncan by reputation as being an experienced actor, even having worked for the RSC at one point. We do icebreaking games and a quick ‘getting to know you’ introduction. Then we tackle the blocking which I expected to take ages but doesn’t.

in the past, as there aren’t any spoken words on stage, we’ve scrutinised motivations behind the onstage action and the relationship with the audience, the soundtrack and the other characters. We don’t attempt to tackle this at this stage. It doesn’t actually seem hugely necessary, perhaps this is due to Duncan’s experience and the speed with which he picks up the structure of the work or perhaps it’s because of the role he’s playing? ‘Arnold’ is the most stationary of the characters with the least audible ‘voice’ though this by no means says he has little to ‘say’ or express.

Again, I become a little nervous. What Duncan brings is quite different to what Pete was doing before him. I prefer to bring a performance out of a performer rather than impose an aesthetic but to accommodate the change in energy for Arnold would mean significant changes for Jean and Frank and I’m not sure I want to make these changes. So it all looks a bit odd and disjointed and rough around the edges. On the other hand it’s reassuring to feel in safe hands with Duncan.

How will I blend the differences of the performance energies I’m seeing? Duncan’s energy is very strong and assured but the character of Arnold has previously had a certain submissive/passive feel to it that was very particular to Pete who was playing the role...

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