Unfortunately Leah was not here again today and so we had to work around her absence in rehearsal which was difficult at times as we were expected to do practical work on the scenes in the first session and then to do a run through of what we had done so far in front of Lynn and the other group in the second session. In the first session we took the opportunity to work on the scenes between the ESC and SK as this was the easiest to do seeing as Leah is an essential character in all the scenes that Isabella and Sherlock feature in.
As I have also been absent due to auditions recently, Josh and Daytona showed myself and Harry the work they had done the day before, so myself and Harry could watch their work with a critical eye and see what worked and what could be improved. I was really pleased with the progress they had made, and although it was very similar to what we had tried before they had managed to re-block some areas that didn’t quite work such as the idea of SK becoming the foot stool as this had created problems with sightlines and the audience being able to hear her speech. Instead they altered the action to work for them in the scene, taking the idea of the SK having to wait on his master and therefore doing other actions such as fanning him and taking his shoes off for him. They also managed to craft in comic moments such as SK getting over excited when fanning and so accelerates the speed at which he fans, leading to blowing the ESC off his chair! This was a comical moment however I worried that it may distract the kids from the learning as this took place while Daytona was explaining the properties of one of the shapes. I did feel that Josh had started to over indulge in his characterisation and so he was no longer getting the meaning behind what he was saying and was slightly egging the lines by taking forever to say them to the point they didn’t make sense any longer. I also think his character had developed into a more sinister character than I had in mind and that we first imagined up and created. Before he would play it in a more bubbly and stupid way, whereas he was now using much more force and aggression behind his voice and movements which may be far too imitating for the children we would be performing to.
In the second lesson Lynn proposed the idea of her watching our pieces so far and making notes and observations from an outsiders view point. I must admit I wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind and would have preferred to work on the scenes instead of showing something that wasn’t yet finished or at a point where we could do it justice – especially as Leah was still absent and so we would have to have someone reading in her lines in her place. This definitely slowed down the pace and made it feel tediously long and arduous – even to me as a performer on stage! Similar to how Josh was earlier, I felt that Harry was completely over doing the use of pause which really affected the pace of our piece and I know that if we performed it to a young audience they would immediately lose focus and get bored. I was unsure as to whether it was because the script was still new to us and he was struggling to find his place or make sense of what he was saying, but by over indulging in these moments the piece lost its excitement and become slightly laborious! I must give both Josh and Harry credit as they are playing extremely difficult character parts compared to myself, however I feel this is an area that should be raised sooner rather than later, so they don’t fall into the trap of milking it in performance.
I felt rather deflated when performing this in front of Lynn and the members of the other group that were present as they seemed to be quite negative about it – with someone even making a comment saying it was ‘tedious’ which I found rather offensive, especially as I was while we were still on stage performing. Several comments were made, from the same person, regarding the script writing which I found rather hurtful as I had taken so much time to write the script single handedly and was quite proud of my achievement, and so quite obviously this was a kick in the teeth and slightly cold and disrespectful to make comments on in such a negative manner!
Below are the reflections I shared with the group:
- My general feeling was that I think we have a fallen into going down the route of over indulging in the moments if that makes sense? Obviously as a group we all love the piece and our characters and so sometimes milk the comedic moments a bit too much in the hope of making it more funny or clever or something; but I think we need to keep at the forefront of our minds who are audience and and how quickly they will lose focus or zone out if the pace is too slow and the story isn’t flowing.
- The sniffing for the trial and the looking around the room which slowed down the pace it as we ended up having lots of pauses in the middle of sentences and so the kids would just drift off or lose interest. I think we need to be super aware of this and make sure we drill through moments like this and keep as much energy to accelerate the drive of the narrative!
- Similarly this applies to the ESC in the moments when you are saying the insult lines or getting worked up, as I think you are enjoying it so much that you sometimes lose the meaning of why you are saying and maybe that’s why it came across as more angry and aggressive yesterday rather than that you were getting worked up?
- I know it super hard when you’re reading off of scripts and you lose your place etc. but maybe these are things we can work on and look out for today? As I think as the script is long and has a full plot to follow it is so so essential that we keep the momentum up and don’t allow here to be a dull moment or drop in drive or energy the whole way through! Obviously this doesn’t mean we speed through it it just means we need to avoid it going flat or stopping or letting the story drag as it will become ‘tedious’ as someone said yesterday!!!