As I had finally finished the full script draft we were able to do a proper read through, followed by a script in hand run through/ stumble through of basic blocking as a starting point. I was pretty proud of myself in how I had managed to write the whole script and with the responses I got from both Eric and my group, as I was honestly very worried about how they might react and what I would do if they didn’t like what I had written. I feel like I captured the characters well in my writing and that the funny catchphrases and the choice of language I used worked well in the piece and created the world we imagined and hopefully portrayed it at a level that the children would be able to appreciate it and follow the story well whilst learning.
Unfortunately Leah was absent and so Erica had to step in her place and read the characters Granny and Mrs Gollysmith, in order for us to have a worthy stumble through the script and a productive session. Erica did such a good job when doing this and it really helped to see the characters come to life of paper, in particularly vocally, as Erica managed to change her voice suitably to differentiate the two characters, which is something Leah had struggled with during the read through the day before. Hopefully Leah will be able to take note and work on her voice and characterisation for each character separately so not to confuse the children in mixing up the characters. My personal favourite was the somerset accent Erica used for Mrs Gollysmith as it is just as I had imagined and was hearing in my head when writing the dialogue.
During the brief rehearsal we had just before our run through Josh, Harry and myself worked on a short scene to set the scene where Sherlock Bones and Isabella are playing fetch and messing around together before Granny enters; I think this worked well in setting up the scene and created a sense of the world we were entering.We discussed the possibility of having music playing from a radio or alternatively the actors on stage singing something to give the opening scene more energy and immediately capture the children’s attention. Later we took this idea further and discussed the notion of having a radio announcement saying something about the Shape Collector on the news as way of setting up the scene and where the narrative of the story, so it doesn’t seem so random and out of nowhere when Granny enters and explains.
From running the script with movement we were able to pin point some problem areas that we were to be aware of surrounding set and scene changes that we would not have realised otherwise. At several points there were moments where it would be counterproductive to change the scene on stage completely as it would be for such a short time, and so we discussed the idea of using a split scene between the Shape Collectors Castle and Isabella and Sherlock at these moments. It was while discussing this we reintroduced the idea of Sherlock and Isabella walking round the space we would be performing in when on our quest and when arriving the castle we could walk up the isle through the children to the front of the stage to give the illusion of going on a journey and it leading to outside the Shape Collectors Castle. It was Erica who brought this up during this session and it was very reassuring that she did and thought it was a good idea, as it was something that we proposed as a group right at the beginning of the devising process.
During this run, I really got the impression that Daytona still felt very unsure or uncomfortable in her role and this showed massively when she was performing as she was delivering the lines rather half halfheartedly and nervously without making any definitive character choices, despite us discussing her character a great deal in other sessions. I am unsure as whether this is because she doesn’t like the role she has been given, if she feels confident or whether there is more going on outside of college that is affecting her performance. Obviously I want to help her whatever it is as I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable in rehearsals or to have her doing something she doesn’t feel comfortable doing, but hopefully over the process she might settle into the role a little better without feeling the need to hold back.
Once we had completed the run we discussed the ideas that had come up in the process, such as a potential additional scene at the end that features the ESC and SK arriving at Granny and Isabella’s house for tea and Cake after taking on a new profession as a Florist! We also raised our idea of having the radio announcement at the start reporting the Evil Shape Collector is about town and how we might do this as a pre-recorder voice over which we could play to give the illusion of coming from the radio – which Erica seemed to think was a good idea to explore. Josh had proposed that we used the radio between each scene as a way of separating each section as he had seen it used in a war time play at the theatre, however I personally felt this was unnecessary as there is nothing to separate in our story and will end up just reducing the momentum and distracting the children from the flow of the story so that every time they will have to refocus. Luckily once I had explained the group saw where I was coming from and agreed!
Overall, I was really pleased with the progress we made today and was thrilled that Erica thought ours was the strongest TIE piece so far and that we were miles ahead of the other groups! It was a very rewarding feeling – we just need to keep the momentum up and making progress!