On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, we had the pleasure of meeting and working with both the Marlowe Senior Youth Company and the Marlowe Adult Playwrights. It is a huge part of our aims as a company to engage and connect with different parts of the community so this was a fantastic opportunity for us. We’ll tell you more about the workshop with the Youth another time, but for now, we want to share some of the insightful discussions we had with the Playwrights.
The premise was an “open rehearsal”. “Come and see some of White Slate Theatre’s techniques and the unique dynamics of having Director and Writer in the rehearsal room.”
Not having done this before, it could have been a little unnerving – how would you feel if someone in your field came and observed you at work precisely for the reason of unveiling new ways of doing things?!
But it was a lovely atmosphere. Of course, we planned well for the open hour, but we also tried to be spontaneous and reflective of how we genuinely work when the doors are closed. We shared our ‘bamboo technique’ which you can hear more about in Vlog 2. And it was a great moment when the actors dropped the bamboo stick and we had to question what had gone wrong in the scene and figure out why they weren’t working together – in some ways we wanted things to be ‘perfect’ for our guests but actually the things that go ‘wrong’ are always where we learn the most!
Jenna did her usual of wanting to edit lines slap bang in the middle of rehearsals. So we also did an exercise of ‘feeding the lines in’ for the actors to get to grips with new words and to slow down and really think about what was going on in each phrase or sentence.
After our short sharing, we got to the interesting part. The discussions!
“How do you edit a tiny part of the script without it impacting everything else? My work is always like jenga and I’m scared it will come crashing down at any point” – I definitely struggle with this too! I just try and shake off the fear and try new things with the actors. You can always bring back the old version but by trying something else you might stumble on something better!
“It was pretty much what I’d expected but I’m still impressed by the on the spot rewriting, I have to be in pyjamas and surrounded by vast piles of Kit Kat’s in order to rewrite anything.” – The in room rewriting says the most about my awful procrastination habit once I get home! I always love the idea of writing at a beautiful desk with an inspiring view, but in truth I am absolutely rubbish at it! As soon as I sit down I will find anything else to fill my time so it’s much better for everyone if I just get on with the rewriting as we go.
“Can I give you some directing advice..?” [“Of course, we always love to hear from other people and know that we don’t have all the answers”] “Don’t forget about safety! Those bamboo sticks could have been dangerous!” – Excellently genuine piece of advice! Readers, don’t worry, we do solid risk assessments!!
P.S. The script in the image isn’t actually for Captured – We don’t want to give you any spoilers!