I have loads to tell you about yesterday – if I’m honest I didn’t think I would but we’ve had an absolutely incredible day and covered a lot of ground. I’m not going to lie to you, readers, I’m absolutely exhausted! So where should I start? Well the whole thing is beginning to take shape in such a satisfying way. I am beginning to see how the finalised product is going to look. The shape of the various sections of the script are, at one and the same time, distinct from each other and yet manage to maintain a connection that gives the whole thing a continuity that I think will really come across to you, the audience. We also hit our first stumbling block today. The final section just seems to include too much material and needs to be re-worked. I feel very privileged to be able to work with the directors in suggesting ways that it could be re-imagined and I am looking forward to seeing how the finished article reflects this change in direction we have taken this section in. I love it, as a theatre maker, when you hit a part of the script that doesn’t present an easy answer because it forces you to soul-search and to look for a less obvious solution. It’s just like a puzzle that needs to be solved and when it is, it’s the most incredible rush in the world!
As always, the material we discussed today could form the basis of an entire dissertation. Something that I was incredibly struck by today was how the script deals with the idea that the actors we have playing the characters might not actually be LGB and yet we are asking them to embody characters that are. Do we ask an actor playing Richard III to be a murdering psychopath? Therefore, why do we find it such a point of contention to have straight actors playing LGB characters? I found myself thinking how, when I see a piece of queer theatre, my first thought is often about the actor’s sexuality even though it bears no real relevance to the story they are participating in telling. There is definitely an obsession with needing to know if they are gay/straight/something in-between! I had never properly considered this and yet now, when I next go and see a piece of theatre, I will try and remember that the actors are merely the story tellers of other people’s stories and not the people telling the actual story.
This piece is definitely going to make the audience work a bit. There is a real sense of avoiding sameness and trying to make each section of the script fresh and different. For each bit there is a sense of locational energy – either from the position of the performers on stage or from the way the audience are asked to watch the piece. Some bits might be performed in a traditional, head-on manner while others might be done behind or to the right/left hand side. Similarly, some bits might be done in the middle of a circle allowing the audience to observe the reactions of fellow spectators and to reflect on this as well. In summary, the presentation of each scene is as unpredictable as the material it covers.
A really busy day all in all – I found myself emotionally spent by the end. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a brilliant day but it has been a rollercoaster. My drive back in the rain (hasn’t it got very autumnal very quickly!) used up the last of my reserves and I am looking forward to crawling into bed and reflecting on a great day. I am looking forward to telling you more about tomorrow’s antics. Until the next time – stay fabulous.
Robert Beck graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Drama and English Literature. He has worked with performers such as Dickie Beau on ‘Lost in Trans’ at Contact, Manchester and Sheila Ghelani on ‘Rat, Rose, Bird’ at Z Arts, Hulme. He also works with The Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre. Follow him on Twitter @Rhubarb1992