James Pacey’s Rehearsal BLOG – Day Ten
It seems an age since I last blogged. In that time the piece has continued to evolve and go from strength to strength. As well as observing the majority of rehearsals, I have been tasked with producing a teachers’/learning support pack. This is intended to be a series of stimuli that teachers can use to spark creativity and discussion with a class. I am quite keen that any resource be used after viewing the play – I strongly believe that any preparation done by pupils beforehand will only serve to emphasise the fact that they are watching a play, rather than going in with no expectations. In some ways I think the magic might be ‘lost’. Daniel and I both agreed that the more visual we can make the resources the better. Nevertheless, despite several years teaching experience it has proven a real challenge to come up with appropriate material. Hopefully what we’ve settled on will spark ideas and imagination, and at the very least give the teachers’ a semi-finished lesson plan!
I am continually reminded of the slightly bizarre fact that a moment can seem perfect in one rehearsal only to be completely wrong the next. What factors have changed to cause a once great idea to now be an awful one? We (a term I use in the very loosest sense) are constantly putting layers on top of layers, fine tuning details and ever changing work. At what point do these ideas become finalised? Is there ever a risk of adding too much to a piece? How late in the day does Daniel dare leave it until he is satisfied? But then, I know from experience that there will always be moments that remain less than satisfactory. Matt and John respond very well to the ever changing piece (although their scripts are covered with corrections!)
Linked to the above is Daniel’s persistence that a moment is repeated over and over until it is right. Only a few months ago I would have been wary of constantly repeating bits for fear of incurring actor’s frustrations – a poignant reminder as to how our own insecurities can hold us back.
Another observation, albeit one without a specific point, comes from Friday’s rehearsal. There is a moment where the father character stumbles during the ploughing match, represented here by John falling to his knees and dropping a chair. This is certainly the most aggressive moment in the play (a stark contrast to the tone of the rest of the piece), and the violence of the act, as well as the harsh noise should have quite an impact on the audience. As I say, a comment without a point but something that nevertheless something that really stood out.
James Pacey (Assistant Director)