Propeller blog
Propeller blog
Propeller blog
Propeller blog

First week of rehearsals

Everyone arrived excited but nervous as hell on Monday morning – the anticipation and nerves on first day of rehearsals is always quite a cocktail!

But what a joy to see so many artists gathered together at St Gabriel’s Church Hall to work on these four excellent plays. Meet and greet and then the company got on with it – reading plays, making cuts, sharing actors, sorting schedules for the week. I left them to it for Monday and Tuesday and went back on Wednesday to see how they were getting on and to mentor directors through the process. I love rehearsal rooms and once I am in a rehearsal room, I sort of never want to leave so I always hang around at the end of the day, tidying up, looking at the model box and then looking at the model box again – chatting to stage management – anything to keep me in the room!

Directors had worked fast – so there was a lot to look at and this was a great moment – a mock-up of the set was up and it was the first time the directors were really coming to terms with working in that very particular physical space. I am trying to impress upon the directors how essential it is to get the aesthetic of the space absolutely right – how to move actors through the space with a pleasing choreography is so important for me and I always feel if you can crack how the space works at its best early on, the play will virtually move itself – and this is what we saw on Wednesday. For each play, as soon as we have the physical space as though it were the only possible way it could arrange itself, then things really start to happen. Moves, spatial dynamics start to suggest themselves and these things feed the texture of the play. And this process happens naturally – when a space is working well – this process can be completely unforced.

Once the space was established, a little work with the actors – again reminding directors that if the actor is happy and open at every moment in the rehearsal room you can move simply and lightly through the rehearsal.  If the actor is open they give you so much of what you need and once again things can take their own shape. But it is so important that you “see” – you see when things are working and you see when things are not – this is the gift of the director – not to be able to see the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a curse. Yesterday I saw something extraordinary.

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