Monday, 13 January 2014

Hangovers, hot seats and hard work

For this post, - I'm actually going to start with the night before rehearsals (controversial i know). Friday the third of January was the day of Charlotte Barlow's eighteenth birthday party. Including Charlotte and myself, there were also some other Heritage cast members there, plus some people that I hadn't seen for a while so that was good fun.

The drama lot all stayed over Charlottes and ssooooommee peoples heads hurt in the morning. (Not mine actually.) Charlotte, Isabelle, Ollie and I all trooped along to rehearsals in Charlotte's dads car, rocking up with messy hair, smelly armpits, and one or two hangovers. (Once again, not me. - I'm a good boy)
Despite being a little tired, we were actually really excited to rehearse, - i for one had started to get withdrawal symptoms.


This was our first rehearsal back since before Christmas, so we were more than eager to get stuck in with setting the play.

Guess what.
                                  On Saturday,

We didn't set any of the play.


Instead, Gavin thought that what we would like better than anything else in the world is to sit in a line, and individually come up and hot seat our characters.

Hot seating is vile. 
(However it is actually really useful)

Hot seating involves a member of cast sitting on a chair in front everrryyyooonnnneee, in their character. Everyone else then proceeds to ask them ten million questions, about literally anything, i said it's vile because its actually really hard, you have to try and think like your character, on the spot. 

And if your name's Ollie, you deliberately ask the poor person up there questions that will throw them. 

I'll give you a quick idea of the kinda guy that Ollie is:

I literally have no words to say, those pictures sum him up perfectly...
(He's gonna kill me)

Anyway, back on topic. Yes, hot seating. Despite my moaning it's actually a really useful tool to help engage with your character, - and it's quite funny when someone messes up!

We then rehearsed the Anthem again, however we had to sit down and wait for a bit because SOME people...

(These ones.)

...couldn't get their part right. 
But it sounded siiiick in the end so s'all good.

For the rest of the Saturday rehearsal we sat in a circle and we read through the script. Instead of writing down facts, we broke the play into smaller sections, - similar to scenes - calling them units. Inside these units we would mark events in the script that affect every character on stage. 

(Here's a very serious picture of people doing some very serious thinking.)


So, Sunday. After a proper nights sleep and a warm shower, I headed back to rehearsals.

We carried on reading through the script marking the events and the units. This time it looks like a lot more fun:

This technique was actually really useful, not only did it break down the play into separate sections, it consequently made it easier to learn lines, - which is always a bonus! 

Next, we made a timeline of events leading up to the start of the play. We used post-it notes and stuck them on the mirror, however they weren't sticky enough and kept falling off. It was my job to order them correctly and write down the dates, so of course it was me, running around, flapping like a chicken trying to pick them up and stick them back on as more from the other side would fall down.

 (Here's Jess putting up a post-it note.)

We then did some more hot seating, it was really interesting as it was the first time that we got to see the character of Cari-Ann Chubb. The picture below shows Hazel hot seating as Cari-Ann, and you can also just about see the timeline in the background on the floor (We moved it down because we got fed up of picking the post-it notes up).

(Hazel, and the timeline on the floor.)

Hey, guess what happened next.

No, we didn't set.

We sat and worked out each character's intention for the first unit. For each event marked on the script, our character would have a change of intention. 


Oh man, we finally did some acting. 

We are approaching the setting of the play completely differently to conventional methods. Instead of having the director mark out every single character movement, Gavin is giving us initial total free reign. This means that for the first couple of runs through the scene, we move wherever and whenever we want, the only things we need to stick to are our intentions and our lines (duh).

We just had time to work through the opening of the play, it was really interesting to try out different ways of moving around the space, seeing what worked the best.

So, all the table (English Lit) work was all over. Although I have moaned about it many a time, it was actually really insightful and contributed hugely to our understanding of the play; its key themes/contexts, and its characters. Despite the hard work, it was also a massive laugh, everybody in the Heritage cast are such good fun. 

Now, we embark on our journey to the end of the play! It's gonna be good fun! 


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