As part of our ongoing commitment to nurture, support and inspire local theatre-makers, the Royal Exchange Theatre are able to offer directors based in Greater Manchester the opportunity to observe the journey of a production through rehearsals with our OBSERVER MONDAYS SCHEME.
Here is the second blog from SO HERE WE ARE observing director Jocelyn Cox.
Pugh: But I only gave up on football ‘cause I had to.
The cast have bonded firmly over ball games. Any spare moment in the rehearsal room is spent playing four square, and each session begins with a group game of keepy-uppy. The current high score is in the hundreds, and the cast only move from football to focus when the shift is enforced by Steven!
It’s especially interesting observing this as a World Premiere, and learning the role that playwright Luke has in the process. He has been working closely with Steven to unlock the text, and despite having obvious authority over the narrative and deep understanding of the characters, is only keen to assist the actors in their development, and isn’t precious about his writing or dictatorial about one fixed interpretation.
As the characters become more developed, and the actors more confident in their roles and relationships, the performances are becoming more emotionally-engaged and detailed. The structure of the second act allows for short intense bursts of focus and commitment, which makes the rehearsal process particularly rewarding.
Observing this week has also reminded me of how instinctive lots of theatre-making can be. Both from the direction given, and the choices made by the actors, regardless of the extensive preparation done outside of the rehearsal room, a lot of decisions are reactive, responding on runs in the space.