FERESHTEH MOZAFFARI - OBSERVER MONDAYS DIRECTOR - GIVES US AN INSIGHT INTO THE SECOND WEEK OF REHEARSALS FOR DEATH OF A SALESMAN, DIRECTED BY SARAH FRANKCOM

OBSERVATION ON REHEARSAL WEEK OF 10TH SEPTEMBER 2018

I headed to my second observing day with speculations and questions: how far have they gone? Have I missed a lot of things? What is going to happen today? From the daily schedules that the stage manager has sent, I could see a lot of things were going on in my absence. I was excited and was looking forward to see those changes.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CAST AND DIRECTOR

When I entered the room, I saw the floor had been marked out and divided into circles in different coloured tape. I saw an old fridge on the set which took me back to my childhood. The first fridge we had was a yellow general electric that my father had bought in the 70s. Suddenly I felt a bit related to the story. Although I wasn’t born yet, but American goods were all over the place in my home country during the 60s and 70s. There were two vintage suitcases on stage which they did not use at this stage.

Sarah and the cast were standing in different places and I sat at the top of the room, the best place that overlooks the scene. When they started rehearsing, I realised they were half way through the play.

Image of Death of a Salesman Rehearsals, Royal Exchange Theatre

The characters were standing in different places in the rings and they moved around according to the director’s advice. As the characters were being built, I saw that the emotions also were developing.

From time to time, Sarah asked the actors to sit down and explore the text and the emotion behind the sentences and asks how they feel. She does not have fixed ideas and she is open to experiment, particularly when she works on the transitions between scenes and between different sections within the scenes. She allows actors to talk and gives them room to express themselves and helps them to absorb any changes. Sometimes she acts or walks through with them to help them understand the physical aspect of a section.

REFLECTIONS

I like Sarah’s approach: an open, democratic and experimental method. I think this the best approach to theatre making. The assistant director and stage manager provide support all the way through each phase of development which shows the collaboration at its best. At the end of the day, the scene had taken shape and Sarah and the cast looked happy and satisfied. The hard work paid off. I can’t wait to see how the sound and lighting are incorporated into the play.


Death of a Salesman runs 11 October - 17 November 2018, Theatre

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