This week has been a tough week for everyone in the group. We are getting to that very recognisable stage in the process where we are rehearsing every day and working very hard and long, at times we are losing sight and finding it hard to distance ourselves from the project. It is ticking away constantly with everyone. As I say, a very recognisable state for a devising process.
Rehearsal with Masks
Even though tensions have been high at times, frustrations and feelings that we haven’t achieved enough have occurred; some really important and strong work has come out of this week.
It is important to mention that in previous weeks, as a group, we have been focussing on the structure of the piece, the ‘world’ we are trying to create and the rules within it (‘world’: a word some of us, if not all would like to never hear again once the piece is done), and the characters that we would like to emerge. This has meant hours and hours of discussion, filling holes and gaps, trying to make our concept and structure flawless. This is something we know is impossible, you can pick holes in any story; there will always be something that hasn’t been thought of or over looked. However, it’s important to try.
So there have been weeks of diagrams and brain storms, endless evaluation of the ‘classic structure’ and referencing literally every film ever made; The Matrix, Narnia, The Beach, Labyrinth, The Village, The Truman Show, Hook and The Wizard of Oz being some of our most used to make a point or to make sense of things. An impressive mix, I think.
This week, we have moved on. We have allocated characters and roles for everyone, which in fact took the form of another endless discussion but we have arrived at a point where there is excitement amongst us to what each of us will be able to achieve in our roles. We have a very creative group of performers which means there is a wealth of possibility. This is an encouraging idea for us.
With characters allocated, we have been able to start work on important moments of interaction between characters, and pivotal moments in the story. By just starting to write, improvise and practically explore ideas, difficult decisions and concepts have magically answered themselves and we are beginning to generate some interesting material.
We have also managed to start work on movement. This has been useful because ideas about a character’s function and relationship with one another have come out whilst trying to discover how certain characters move. It’s funny how two birds can unexpectedly be killed with one stone in this way.
Next week, we are looking forward to working on ideas for live music within the piece and what role it might have. I, for one, am have excited about this. It is my belief that music in general has a unique ability to surround physical and visual work and lift it into becoming more present and vivid. So I’m hoping questions about tone and mood will be explored in workshops with live music. Perhaps it will be the topic of next week’s blog.