The first week of rehearsal was all about stumbling through the entire show to get a rough idea of what we actually have. We had to make a concerted effort not to dwell on particular moments nor try to perfect them, but to simply play out each scene to get a feel for the show in its entirety.
In many respects this is a unique process for us as it is the first time we have co-devised with a professional theatre and it is our first adaptation of a text. Working with the Watermill Theatre has been fantastic so far. It’s such a treat to have all the production elements taken care of; you only have to mention a prop or sound effect you might need and… Hey presto! It arrives! The challenge has always been how we would marry our ‘Rhum and Clay method’ with the Watermill’s more traditional approach to theatre. Thankfully I have only positive news to report. The Watermill’s own Beth Flintoff from has been our outside eyes and ears; we have been combining her skill at adapting text with our own physical style.
The next phase of rehearsal will be about going through each scene in detail. Finding the rhythm of a piece is integral to devising; how is paced? When does the audience need a break to digest what we have given them? When does the pace need to be picked up? It is in this next stage of rehearsal that we will really start to discover exactly what it is we have created. We are increasingly much more conscious of the connection we have with the audience, the path we will lead them down and the story we will tell.
Two weeks until we open. It will pass by quickly but it’s up to us that we stay efficient yet don’t rush! A balancing act made easier by our partnership with the watermill.