This week, we created a piece in one day… and I have been asked to direct it! Our chosen theme was Truth & Lies, because we had already done a lot of work around this subject. The piece needed to be 20 minutes long and we only had a few hours to make it, before our audience arrived.
We started off in the morning with a physical warm-up from Callan, who is now working in TIE and is great at energising the group. I then asked the actors, Callan, Mia and John, which bits we’d already worked on which they’d like to include. We tried out a few sections but some of them really didn’t fit in and we felt that we required a larger group to have the same impact as before.
I then led and exercise – my favourite one – which asked them to take responsibility for something that was negative. I wanted them to convince me that it was THEY who had committed this terrible act or who done a bad thing. Where normally people would try to blame others, I wanted them to say “It was me”. This scene worked really well and we got Theresa in to watch to give us feedback.
Partly due to time constraints, but mainly because I wanted them to have some input and ownership, I asked them to create a piece of their own, using their own inspiration. I asked Mia to think about a poem, as this is one of her many talents and she didn’t disappoint – writing a piece that fitted perfectly. John had a few things he’d written previously and he performed it beautifully because it was so personal. Callan was inspired by some of the props we had around the room, particularly some clothes hangers and a clothing rail – he created a very physical piece utilising them. We all gave feedback on each others and tweaked the individual scenes to make them fit with our theme.
We suddenly realised that it was lunchtime and we only had two hours until our audience was due to arrive. I frantically put all our smaller scenes into a logical order and checked with the cast that they were happy. I also dressed our set – I was really missing the talents of Natalie who is a superb Stage Manager, she was very needed that day!
However we put together a piece that made sense, which flowed, which I thought an audience would enjoy and feel immersed in – particularly as we kept moving the audience around – I was extremely proud of what we had put together as an ensemble and it was very pressured in a short space of time.. however the end result was a piece of theatre and sometimes, you have to get a product and the process comes second.
As a director, I think I still have a lot to learn and it sure is different trying to put a devised piece together rather than working with a script! Even so, I really enjoyed it and felt very proud at the end.
Charlotte Bond, Performer, Emerging Perspectives Company