So an eventful couple of weeks seemed to justify making a blog entry…
Pete and I spent 3rd December with the exceptionally talented Neil Bettles of Thick Skin Theatre and Frantic Assembly. Having previously done a fantastic Frantic Assembly workshop with Neil through Jo Adamson-Parker of Northern Spirit Creative, and having seen his work on Beautiful Burnout, I was really keen to work with him on Hidden.
Pete and I have set ourselves somewhat of a challenge by writing three characters each to play in the same show so we thought it’d be good to work on physical characterisation and differentiation of the characters and the different relationships between them. Neil led us through many physical ‘tasks’ (like exercises, but slightly less sweaty than at the gym, but only slightly) to discover rhythms and mannerisms of each character. I’m not sure how much of what Neil did with us would be a trade secret but I’m pretty sure I’d be doing Frantic out of some well-earned cash if I went into too much detail, so to read more about their techniques in devising theatre buy this The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre. Neil is going onto work on The Full Monty at the Crucible, but reports that he practiced his direction of strip scenes on us are wildly exaggerated.
We then spent 5th December filming our trailer for Re:play. Now then, with more money and time we’d have filmed it with all the proper gubbins, but as we are short on both we filmed it armed only with my iphone (other smart phones are available). Obviously we would like to add that this was an artistic decision not a decision based merely on economics or logistics. You see the footage we’ve captured will look like it has been filmed on a mobile phone DELIBERATELY. Because this gives it the feel of secret, private moments captured on a ‘Hidden’ camera – see what we did there? So definitely not because we didn’t have time or money, clear? Good. We had a lot of fun filming it in six different locations. Cunningly Pete’s scenarios were lying down in bed, sitting on a train and standing up reading a paper. Mine were walking into a toilet (not too bad you think, but Pete standing outside the ladies toilet with a camera did look a bit dodgy!), running up two flights of stairs (repeatedly – Pete is a hard director to please – outtakes available on request), and drinking special brew (tastes like soil fermented in urine – and it didn’t even make the edit!). So just so we’re clear I SUFFERED for my art.
Owen Rafferty has done an amazing job of editing this footage together with an original composition by Harri Chambers to make a perky little trailer that we hope will whet your appetites to see the show in January. It will be online very shortly: watch this space!
We attended the Library Theatre's Media launch for re:play on 12th December where we showed our sparkly new trailer (hot off the...computer). It was lovely to meet up with the other companies performing work at re:play including: Breathe Out Theatre, House of Orphans, Box of Tricks, Monkeywood, Northern Elastic Theatre Company, RealLife Theatre Company, and Kumaluva along with all the staff at the Library Theatre. I am so excited to see all of the shows (some for the second time) at Re:play – it really is a cracking line-up. Don’t forget that you can Buy one get one half price so that’s a reason to see as many of them as you can!
Other than Hidden related activities I have also been busy doing an intensive Meisner training course with Scott Williams of The Impulse Company through West Yorkshire Theatre Network. It was incredible, and if you ever get a chance to work with Scott – jump! Heartfelt thanks to Scott, the rest of the group and especially to Stephanie Upsall of WYTN for organising it so well and at such a reasonable price.
Right I'm off to Ikea to buy the set - wish me luck!