Sunday, August 16, 2009

A week in workshops

We're back in workshop for the Trilogy, this time in London. I spent last weekend dashing backwards and forwards to Heathrow, picking up Chinese and Swedish actors, while Penny picked up Radhakrishna. They are all being accommodated in student rooms at Goldsmiths, which, while not exactly five-star, has the distinct advantage of being on-campus for our venue: we're working in the University theatre while the students are on holiday. This is a huge advantage, since we can have the set from the beginning (complete with a new, perfectly reflective and decidedly durable floor), and can experiment with light and projection, rather than simply imagining these additions to the rehearsals and hoping they will work at a last-minute tech. What's more, this period isn't about final preparation for a paying audience (that doesn't happen till February), so we also have the chance to take mad risks in the knowledge that we can revert to safer practice later on. I'm planning to try something particularly mad tomorrow...

Many of the foundations for this third play were laid in Shanghai, but the work Brian and I have been doing since then has re-moulded much of it. As a result, we're creating lots of new scenes, and re-working much of what we had before, with totally different sub-texts and meanings. In many cases, the scenes have different characters in them, while retaining the same theatrical structure. It's all very extraordinary. Brian came in on Tuesday, and worked with us on some of the scenes which require a more textual approach, and he's now sent those through. I've not worked in a way which combines devising and a writer before - but I think it's the way forward for us: it's certainly working at the moment.

The new additions to the company, Lianne and Spatica, are both very creative and very exciting. I'm trying to bear in mind that they don't have the history with the project that everybody else has - but at times they make it hard to think that! The Chinese actors are wonderful - Qi with his piercing intelligence, Hui with her earnest grace, and Jue with the best comic timing since Chaplin.

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