So which version of myself am I playing now? How aware am I of the impression I’m doing of myself? Are we in the past, present or future right now? Are you playing me or am I? And the big one:
Why do we feel it’s necessary to show this flashback, within a flashback while narrating on our own story, which has also already happened, to the audience??
People have asked me what I’m working on at the moment. First they are enthused by the subject matter and are grateful that it’s a story that is getting told. Then their eyes and mouth slowly widen as I explain exactly how we’re going to do it. I call it Couple-Ception.
Two actors, upwards of 10 characters and 3 different timelines. There are more flash-backs, flash-backs within flashbacks and flash-forwards than Lost and I have left some rehearsals with headaches! What’s more is while developing the script we were improvising under these conventions and even playing each other. Sufficed to say my brain felt a little melty by the end.
But it works! Once you crack the convention (and relax on your resistance to the challenge!) it gives the piece an incredible energy and takes the audience on a real ride. The rehearsal process has been so fantastically in-depth too and given us the chance to explore everything very fully, even at the ‘broad brush stroke’ stage. It’s not often that you get to work on a character breakdown and backstory for a character that appears for one line!
Each shift in character, time zone and layer is given it’s reasoning ensuring each time we switch, the audience stay on board and the story carries on. It’s going to leave us with a razor sharp piece that tells the story in a very unconventional way, but one that also appeals to the audience. It’s been a joy to work on the script while it’s been in development and I love the story Jenna has told. Suzy has the perfect blend of ‘do what you feel’ and ‘this is exactly what I want from you here’ to allow your creative juice to flow, and then be honed into something quite magical.