Woman in Mind – Day 2

Written by Adele Hopwood

We begin with our reflections from last night’s rehearsal. After we had shared our research into 1985 many travelled home feeling somewhat cloaked in the tense, dark atmosphere which pervaded the world 30 years ago. For some of us, this merged with personal memories of that time, of our own dreams and how time had manifested those dreams…or not. As we begin to connect with our character’s lives, before, during and after the play’s timeframe, we draw from our own lives, experiences and emotional memory. Next week the day rehearsals promise in- depth character work, but for now, our task is to block the entire play. Finally, we are getting the play on it’s feet, and it feels very exciting!

During preparation prior to rehearsals beginning, many of us speak all of the characters’ lines as well as our own. We run scenes in our head numerous times and it feels very satisfying to finally hear all the voices we could only imagine until now. As for the movement, we are urged by John to be instinctive, natural and organically develop positioning and gesture. We are effectively working ‘in the round’ and so, always mindful of sight lines, those not in a scene sit around the space to understand what can be seen from various points in the audience.

All too soon, our time together draws to a close and we sit and share our closing thoughts about our work tonight. We discuss the demands of uninterrupted stage time for some actors, acknowledge the shared rehearsal phenomenon of arriving with a section perfectly memorised only to have the words disappear into the ether the moment you also have to do some ‘stage business’ e.g. using a prop.

We all feel intrigued as to how the nuances of the characters will unfold once we are able to really immerse ourselves in them next week, however we know from experience with this rehearsal approach, that the blocking gives us a vital basic structure on which to build complexity. We all leave happily anticipating creating more structure tomorrow.