Monday, 20 September 2010

Rehearsal Blog: All These Events Are Happening Now

So, here's Lauren's blog post from the start of last week - Week 3. This takes us up to the point where we had to confront the fact that the idea that we were so excited about in Week 2, whilst visually very strong, was actually getting in the way of performance.

These can be tough decisions. Rachael reminded me of an early version of 9 Billion Miles From Home at Chelsea Theatre, in which we had a field of suspended stars or globes, each beautifully, individually lit. They looked great. But getting up to do anything in amongst them was confusing and impractical. They didn't last into the next stage of the process, but they informed the circular obsession of the version of the show that followed. It is proving to be the case here, too, I think...but, anyway, over to Lauren.

Post 5: “All These Events are Happening Now”

The start of the third week saw the move to the Lyceum rehearsal space, which gave the performers more space and room for a bigger screen, so that the projection aspect of the show could be developed more effectively.

With Rachael in rehearsal at the start of the week, it was seen as a good time to check everyone was happy with the progress made so far, and to compare notes regarding what the performers thought the show was at this point. There was a feeling that the format needed to be decided upon soon, to have as much time as possible to refine the content, as the set design was very simple.

Discussing their ideas of what the show is, proved a point the performers are making in What I Heard; we each have our own version of the world in our heads, never exactly the same as anyone else’s. There were debates regarding the differences in each others’ visions; stories versus characters, nations versus individuals, the function of the stage props and what they represent, whether the show should have discrete sections or should appear to flow as one narrative.

One point agreed on was that the show needed to convey that all the events they mention are happening everywhere, all the time. At the moment there were long texts about one story, but there needed to be ‘micro-narratives’ featuring others, to make the world the performers are creating richer and more textured.

In the afternoon, Alex, Jorge and Chris read through all the text that had been written so far. Reacting to this, Rachael wondered whether the show was actually commenting on the world it was describing. There was disagreement about this, as the tone in which some stories are told in could be thought of as commenting on them.

On Tuesday, the performers met with the set & prop builders, and this forced the performers to clarify their thoughts regarding the use and number of ‘flat daddies’ in the show. They seemed important to include because they have been the hook for getting many people interested in the project from the start, but including many of them may have spatial problems on stage.

These doubts were cemented with the deconstruction of the ‘hijack’ text, again with Rachael and Capela offering feedback. Working out what all three were to do whilst the text is performed by Chris quickly exposed weaknesses in that 'set piece', but also the need for more brevity in dealing with most of the stories in the show. To remedy this Rachael suggested an exercise, in which all three should write material where stories are told just through dialogue, or in the third person.

At the end of the day, energy felt very low and there was a bit of mental panic about throwing out another set design, but as always, tomorrow was another day...

Lauren's photos of the rehearsal process are on her Flickr page, here.

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