I have had work put on in a yurt, a pub, a disused factory and even a few theatres, which has left me feeling everything from ecstatic to exasperated. The emotional rollercoaster a direct result of the creative process stopping for me once I’d handed over my script.
Occasionally I’d drop into rehearsals introduce myself but it always felt like I was intruding, so I’d leave with this vague sense of disappointment thinking that I was probably only getting in the way.
When Sharon included me in the Ferment programme and suggested I sit in on rehearsals for Family I jumped at the chance, as I could finally see how a script was dragged kicking and screaming to curtain up.
I was acutely aware from the outset that I wanted to be a help rather than a hindrance. I wanted to strike the right balance, share ideas but know when to let the director and actors just get on with it.
I chickened out of the warm up session but there was no hiding in the read through, as all of the dark stuff that had only ever previously existed in the recesses of my mind came tumbling out into the room.
Problems presented themselves as quickly as solutions. I became obsessed with the time line, changed stage directions but the hardest thing to do was to cut the passages I’d slaved so long over. To put a line through them, knowing deep down that they didn’t push the narrative forward they had to go.
I came to understand just how important a good director is, as Sita never once pushed or cajoled me into a decision but let me find my own way through. Helping me to strip back the piece and allow it to breathe and to find its own rhythm and as this happened the characters started to jump off the page. The actors confidently playing with them, testing them in new scenarios and having fun with them.
I loved the collaborative aspect of the process, the energy generated, seeing how changing a word or a phrase brought a new meaning or clarity to the text.
There was only time for one read through of the revised script but it was enough to give me a real sense of where the play could go and in future it will be me beating the door down to get into the rehearsal studio, so I can be part of the whole process rather than just the start.