The Light Burns Blue: Rehearsal Diary – Week 4

Propolis Theatre (Made in Bristol 2015) and Young Company member Faye Bishop shares her diary from rehearsals for The Light Burns Blue. This week, parts are cast, the final script has landed and the company feel like they are really on their way…

Faye (back row, second left) in rehearsal for The Light Burns Blue - Photo by James D. Kent.

Faye (back row, second left) in rehearsal for The Light Burns Blue – Photo by James D. Kent.

A cacophony of cheerful chatter and giggling gives voice to a bubbling undercurrent of excitement and anticipation. It is the first rehearsal of the week and as the twenty strong cast of The Light Burns Blue we have just been informed that today we will receive a final draft of the script. The script that has – for the last few months – been the motivation of Silva Semerciyan’s pen, the vision of director Lisa Gregan and the provocation of our creations. Not only that, but today we will be cast. Cast in the roles that again have emerged through the weeks of devising, writing, shaping, discussing. Hours of enthused conjecture over who will play who now promises to be replaced by fact.

But first, the customary warm-up lead by assistant director James D. Kent. This is followed by a swift round of EastEnders themed Zip Zap Boing. A game that has become a staple of our theatre-making diet of late and one that is so high in energy and hilarity I would highly recommend to anyone.

Once suitably warm, we are given our parts and the preliminaries of character development begin. From considering (through writing exercises) aspects of our characters internal and external worlds, to actively physicalising and vocalising them, an acquaintance with our roles is well and truly made. These shall continue to deepen and transform over the coming weeks, but are a suitable starting point for the first reading of the final script. As we conduct a semi-physicalised reading of this wonderful work, the products of our passions pour from the pages and – amongst a myriad of intricately considered twists and turns, many slightly revised to the version of a few weeks previous – the world of the illustrious Elsie Wright is revealed.

The company in rehearsal for The Light Burns Blue - Photo by Justine Frost

The company in rehearsal for The Light Burns Blue – Photo by Justine Frost

With script and casting in place, the latter part of the week is largely dedicated to looking at the finer details and re-working of a number of the play’s opening scenes. Whilst Gregan works closely with rotating pockets of the cast, refining, characterising and motivating each moment, the rest of the troupe disperse to stage scene changes, choreograph transitions and to further explore the potentials of light and shadow manipulation. By session’s end we re-convene to showcase the fruits of our labour. What emerges are several fleshed out, characterful scenes, rich in plot and dynamism.
Reaching for our coats at the end of the day, I am met with the sense of satisfaction that comes from seeing the path ahead a little more clearly. We may still have a lot of this path to tread but as Gregan concludes, we’ve most certainly ‘got the car on the road…’

The Light Burns Blue plays in Bristol Old Vic Studio between 15-18 April. Book tickets here, and check back next week for another diary from the rehearsal room.

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