Sunday, 8 January 2012

New Year / New Words

The Westminster term hasn’t quite started yet, although I’ve worked out that I’ve read roughly two, decently-sized novels’ worth of student writing this Christmas! Some great stuff though – makes me anxious to do some of my own…

But there’s not much time for that at the moment, as I’m right in the middle of auditions for my new play ‘Brightest and Best’ (details on the link opposite…) In fact this term I have a bit less teaching, so for the next few weeks I’m going to be posting more on the practical side of things. ‘Brightest and Best’ opens on 15th February, and I think it’s going to be an exhausting (but exhilarating) task to get the show on its feet by then. The director is Natalie Ibu, who I’ve worked with on a few different projects and is one of the most inspiring people I know in theatre.

The audition process has been fascinating so far, particularly for the way that it starts to reveal the play in new ways. Hearing actors interpret and re-interpret scenes opens up so many possibilities, and I’m going to be re-writing / re-working for much of next week as a result of things I’ve learnt already. In particular two phrases, or questions, have really stood out for me – Natalie uses them a lot: What is the ‘offer’ the character is making? And what is the ‘cost’ to them of what they are saying/doing? Really, this is just another way of addressing dramatic agendas and stakes, but ‘offer’ and ‘cost’ are much more dynamic and evocative descriptions of those processes. I was reminded of Declan Donellan’s book 'The Actor and The Target' in which he talks about the weakness of the traditional question ‘what does a character want?’ and the energy that is released instead if you ask ‘what does one character need from the other?’ So much of the creative process seems to depend on the choice of words we use to describe what we’re up to.

The auditions have also been fun because I get to read in all the other parts.  It’s hard, being a frustrated actor…

Right, time to rush off to audition day #3. But for anyone who’s interesting in tracking the process of putting on this play a bit more closely, I’ve decided to take a jump into the twittersphere. So you can follow me, and other members of the creative team here…


Do sign up and keep in touch!

1 comment:

  1. Happy new year, Matt. Delighted to hear you have another play coming up. 'Through the Night' at the Finborough was a great experience: I can safely say I have never sat on the edge of my theatre seat before. Really looking forward to the new show!