Thursday, November 3 2016

Rehearsal Reflections Part Two – Francesca Savige

Artistic Director's Notes
image: Jon Green

When we began rehearsals in late August, we had the gift of Caleb’s presence again. He and Matt had continued liaising and Caleb’s script was onto its fourth or fifth draft. It was thrilling to see what had been included, inspired by the development. But the process was far from over! Caleb stayed with us for the whole first week of rehearsals and continued to make changes – some minor tweaks, others large re-writes or edits. On the first full script read-through with all the creatives in attendance, Caleb asked us all to be very frank about what we thought worked and what didn’t. It was a beautifully open and fruitful discussion, with Caleb always pressing us to be more critical and more challenging in our dissection of the play! His lack of preciousness about his work, his open-mindedness and his ability to listen and filter through thoughts and suggestions was extraordinary. And I think this open-mindedness and awareness is what makes his work so brilliant and so very accessible.  Over that first week of rehearsal, Caleb continued to tweak and edit and absorb new ideas that emerged from explorations on the rehearsal room floor.

On a personal level I learnt that this interaction with the writer in the room made me feel a very powerful sense of ownership in the work. Of course, the writing is more than 99 percent Caleb’s words, but because we were so integral to the process, I felt like we embodied the character’s dialogue truthfully. This is what we aspire to as actors – to feel as though the words are our own as the character speaks them. It was profoundly rewarding to feel this as a result of this collaborative process.

Probably one of the most ridiculous, and yet undoubtedly invaluable, things to come out of the development, as Scott and I happily and freely improvised around Caleb’s wonderful script was; a fart joke. Essential for every good youth theatre show, surely? When rehearsals officially began in August, Scott and I were thrilled to discover the fart had made it into the rehearsal script. This of course, gave us true ownership of this moment in the play, and confidence in our own creativity of high-class comedy. Then by the second week of rehearsals, Scott had managed to include two more fart jokes in the show! Victory! I think he throws them in as gentle reminders for me to not take myself too seriously. It works. Double victory! By week three, our fiercely intelligent and considered director Matt had culled us back down to just the one fart joke in the show. Boo!

We pipped him at the post by squeezing out one more irresistible fart joke during production week! And I conclude, with confidence, that the creative contribution of actors should never be underestimated.

– Francesca Savige


This is part two of a special two part rehearsal diary. Part one is available here.