Posted on July 25th, 2016
We’re into week two of rehearsals now, but rehearsal seems the wrong word as this is not the sort of play you can finish writing on paper. So really we’re into week two of creating, based on the thing I wrote a few weeks ago.
I’m reminded that the word is playwright and not play-write. It comes from an Old English word – wrought – which is to do with creation/building/ironwork rather than the physical act of writing down. So we’re all busy wroughting this thing together, along with various volunteers who come into the room from time to time to go on dates and help us work out what works and what does not. The idea is that we end up with a piece of narrative theatre that tells my story while also telling a brand new story every night – the story of two people going on a date. It’s a difficult balancing act between prepared material and making sure we allow their date to be as real and organic as possible. And this is what I love about working with unprepared audience members. A line that’s been written, re-written, rehearsed, re-rehearsed, re-written, re-re-rehearsed then spoken on stage … well that line bloody well should be good. A line that’s spoken in the moment from an unprepared audience member that cuts to the core of the human experience without even meaning to. Now that’s special. People often ask if improvising is frightening. Absolutely not. Delivering rehearsed lines is frightening because if they’re shit there’s nowhere to hide. Improv allows us all to take a breath and just have a chat in a room about love. That’s not scary. We all improv every second of every day. It’s normal. Learning and delivering lines is not.
I’m reminded that the word is playwright and not play-write. It comes from an old english word – wrought – which is to do with creation/building/ironwork rather than the physical act of writing down.
My process involves worrying. Worrying constantly that the show is no good. This is not good for my mental health but it is excellent for the show. It means I’m constantly second guessing decisions and not allowing anything through that doesn’t fully satisfy me. If I stop worrying about a certain aspect of the show that means I’m satisfied that it belongs in there. I’m afraid sometimes though that this approach might drive my director a little mad. Not that he’s showing any signs of it. Steven is such a calming presence in the room and every worry I have he has a cool, calm and intelligent response to. I think we make a good pair. We’d maybe even make a good couple … In another life.
Writer and Performer of In Fidelity
In Fidelity runs at #TravFest16, the curated festival of events at Traverse Theatre for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 4 – 28 August. Following its world premiere, In Fidelity will then transfer to the tenth annual HighTide Festival of new plays from 8 – 18 September in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.