Day 1 - Character Development
Today we started by looking at the character of Edgar. So far Edgar has been mainly functional, we've needed him to do certain things to fulfil Millie's story arc but now it's time to work out who he really is. Together we wrote out a character profile and talked about the kind of person we're imagining him to be. We then did some 'hot seating', in which the actor playing Edgar, Hal, sat in the hot seat in character and we asked him questions about who is is, what he likes, what makes him angry.
Hot seating is a good way to find out more about a character through instinctual/improvised responses to lots of questions, asked by the rest of the team.
On Friday last week I told the cast who is going to play who, which for me was a very difficult decision and has been a cause of mild stress over the last week. Hannah is going to play Millie so we did a bit of character exploration for her. We also explored two relatively new characters from the pub scene. Bobbie, played by Lily, and Lola, played by Alice. These are two of Edgar's friends and there going to appear throughout the piece. Each of these characters had their turn in the hot seat and we really started to flesh them out.
Bobby and Lola are both in the pub scene so we started the process of scripting that before the end of the day.
Day 2 - Making Movement Moments
We started the day by finishing the pub scene. We scripted each moment and then ran the sequence without words so we could focus just on the movement. By taking away one element and just focusing on another we could allow one aspect of the sequence to inform the other.
We then pieced together the dreaded duplicate sequence in act two. The tactic for this was firstly to plot the outline of this section on a diagram and then think about the pace we wanted it to have. After re-reading through Bea's notes from last week we planned out an overall shape for this section. Then we split into three groups. Hal on music, Hannah and Lily on the start of the sequence and me and Alice on the final section. We then worked out a sequence for each section and taught it to the rest of the group.
As part of the afternoon warmup we tested out Hal's new song, a duplicate round, in order to keep it on the table as an ingredient in the section. While the creative groups were working Hal was exploring music for the sequence, which by the end of the day we started to match with the action.
Day 3 - Duplicates Duplicates
The main body of act two is a sequence of short scenes that tell the story of the rise of Millie's success online and her use and abuse of the time machine. Today we rehearsed and refined this section to make sure it served the story arc we'd planned out with Bea last week. The hardest part was matching the music to the various sections. There have been so many ideas for duplicate songs throughout this R and D that the choice of what to use was a tough one. In the end we settled on three pieces of music, one made from pots and pan samples for the first section that included a cooking sequence, one was made using Hal's analogue synthesiser to reflect the digital development of the time machine and one song that we developed using Hannah's flamenco chords as a ballad about meeting yourself called 'The Person I Could Be'.
In any rehearsal process there is always an ongoing conversation about design. Today was the final day to make decisions about set, to give Ruby enough time to build something for the showcase next week. Ruby also came into rehearsals with a bunch of costumes which we tried on, as well as an oscilloscope to be a possible addition to the set.
Day 4 - Script and Music Day
The main focus of today was on finishing all the scenes up until the end of the show including incorporating the musical ideas that Hal had been developing throughout the rehearsals. One task was to write a song that represents the twee ukulele music that is a frequent feature of YouTube. The song 'An Ode to My Wrinkly Fingers' was born.
I love to soak with a lush bath bomb,
but when I do it I do it to long.
Fingers turn out looking like a prune
and that is why I am sinning this tune,
Oh my wrinkly fingers, oh the feeling that lingers,
an ode an ode an ode an ode to my wrinkly fingers.
One of the other songs Hannah and Hal started writing was the song at the end when Edgar sings all the embarrassing things that Millie has done over the years. That was a particularly passionate writing session because one of the guitar strings broke.
We'd brought a printer into the rehearsal room with the aim of printing it out and running through act one with script in hand.
Day 5 - What to show at Sharp Teeth.
Today we sat down and finished the script for the whole show as it is now. Most of the scenes had either been devised and recorded or scripted already, so there were only a few unfinished moments. We split into pairs to tackle those scene by writing them out. This isn't usually how I like to work on a scene because it takes away the shared ownership, but in the interest of time we wanted to make sure we had something in place for every scene so we could get a rough sense of the overall show. The way we worked on the script was by using a Google Doc. This allows everyone to edit the same document and make changes, that are trackable, to one shared script. By the end of the day we managed to run through everything we'd got and realised that act one was missing a proper build in the character of Millie.
After we ran though the whole show we made a decision about what to share at Sharp Teeth, a cross disciplinary scratch night that has music poetry storytelling and theatre.