DAY #6 + DAY #7
I am rolling the last two days of the workshop into one for we have covered very similar territory in both. It is winding up now and Samantha and Chris are pulling a fine-toothed comb through the script (rather than, say, one of those industrial hairdressing combs where the teeth have 5cm between them.)
I have learnt a lot over these past two weeks. The importance of biscuits. Laughter. Honesty.
Honesty is something that I have not delved into much but it is fundamental to creative development. On Wednesday there was a section of one of the scripts that Samantha didn’t find interesting during the reading. Upon discussion of the session she showed the section to the writer and exclaimed how bored she had been. I was shocked and then shocked again by how well the writer took it. I suddenly realised that this was the whole purpose of what we were doing here. The writer needs a multiplicity of voices outside of his or her own head to tell him/her, honestly, what works and what does not because they themselves do not have access to such a perspective.
So honesty: tick. It seems obvious but I guess it’s the kind of honesty where, although you take care of and respect the feelings of the artist involved, you also don’t mince your words. They are there because they want the very best out of their work and it would be a disservice for you to not be candid for fear of hurting their feelings.
I have also learnt about the importance of a rock-solid beginning and ending. It is these that anchor a script and if they are not well-built, subtle and refined then there’s a good chance that the writing will just float away. Think of the play as a picnic blanket and the beginning and end are the rocks you’re using to pin it down in the breeze. And the breeze is the audience’s attention. OK, enough with the analogy already.
I have learnt about the importance of fine actors. Lucy Bell and Matt Zeremes are not your dime-a-dozen thespian and I have realised that their power as performers lies in their curiousity. Endless questions not only about their characters but about the mythological and artistic references, the spatial configurations of the performance, the relationships and the motivations not only within the play-world but of the writer herself, challenging her to substantiate her artistic decisions. Bottom line: good actors in the development phase are as important as any other person in that room.
This is all I will write in summary for now but I’m sure much more will spring to mind.
There are going to be three more of these workshops throughout the year - I strongly (vehemently?) suggest that you apply for these internships. The insights have been invaluable.