Thursday, 28 June 2012

Mid-term pause: and appreciation

Exactly halfway through the six-week rehearsal process, and time for a quick reflection.

I'm enjoying this show. My fellow actors are a real pleasure to work with; the characters are both interesting and satisfying to play. There is (as I've mentioned in other posts) laughter and drama in equal measure. The play is well written, with enough simplicity of storyline to engage the audience rapidly, but enough layers to keep it most definitely three-dimensional.

What I'm especially enjoying about this process is the highly participative style of direction. Genevieve works in a way which is a superb combination of guidance and freedom. I've worked with (and watched the productions of) directors who rely too much on the strengths of their casts, and effectively leave them to get on with it; at the other end of the scale, directors who 'block' every move, every nuance, every jot and tittle of the process, leaving no room for creativity. Happily, I haven't encountered either of those extremes too often, nor too recently.

Genevieve treats her cast as intelligent professionals; if we suggest that we're uncomfortable with the delivery of a line or a physical placement on the stage, she'll get us to try something else which we feel to be more appropriate. Her suggestions and our ideas are tried out until we know absolutely that we've found the right way to suit our stage integrity and our director's overall vision. Equally, if the cast member is completely at a loss as to why something's happening, or how to convey it, she'll be ready both with her own ideas and with questions to bring it out of the actors for themselves. And if something isn't working, she won't simply tell the actor 'that's wrong', but will find a constructive suggestion for discovering what will work.

It brings me to reflect on the many excellent directors I've had the privilege of working with in the past, and it becomes obvious that, given the wide variety of personality, age, style and experience, this process of intelligent collaboration is the common feature for them all. I really have been very fortunate!

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