Great Expectations The Play



Paul's Blog - 1st September 2012

Monday 27th August

Bank Holiday Monday…line learning and consolidation from last week… oh and a nice lunch out ;-))

Tuesday 28th August

Big day all returning to rehearsal room and an "old fashioned read through" with production people etc hearing the script read out loud. It seemed apparent to me that all the hard work on Act One had paid off and we were all getting to grips with the through line and storytelling of the first half of the piece. Act Two was a bit of a surprise and although well read, we needed to go through the same process as we did last week with Act One. After the reading, the model presentation which allowed us to see in minature what the set will look like so we can feel for exits and entrances etc. It looked fab and very atmospheric! We then encountered the masks for the first time… amazing… frightening and gothic.

Afternoon was spent on movement and character work and building a team and exercises to bond us and to help us pull together as "storytellers". An extra evening session let us start work on Movement Four which is Pip arriving in London and we were able to use mask and some bits of costume to create the opening sequence for Act Two. The team worked really hard using the masks and refining the movements to create the Londoners and give a different rhythm and energy to life in "the forge" of Act One.

Wednesday 29th August

Movement in the morning again honing down character movement and thinking of our relationships to each other also exercises to help us physically with the demands of the tour and working on a "rake" very useful and handy to keep us in tip top condition for the weeks ahead.

Afternoon was spent on Movement Five which has a set piece of Adult Pip's nightmare The Richmond Ball so this had to be choreographed in a rough way with the large Satis House table in place which forms the centre piece of the action.

Another evening session for Magwitch, myself and young Pip as we talk through the next big set piece escape on the Thames for tomorrows rehearsal. we talked through what had to be achieved and what are the important pieces of the story to bring colour and life too.

Thursday 30th August

Movement this morning came as a welcome surprise when we were told to lie on the floor and relax and breathe and be aware of our bodies, for me personally i loved this session as it is something we don't do a daily basis but is so useful in listening to our bodies and finding stress, pressure points and when we completed the exercise i must admit to feeling much lighter and more awake than i did at the beginning of the morning!! Can we have some more of this please??? ;-)) Simon Slater (composer) joined us to take us through the sound scape that will be enhancing the "Escape on the Thames" sequence. This holds a lot of narrative for me so it was great to feel the music drive me through and give an impulse to the excitement and fear of trying to help Magwitch escape. Simons wonderful underscoring is fantastic and adds another depth to the piece. We did not use this kind of sound scape in the previous production, I feel it adds another riche layer to what we are striving to achieve. We then completed the final movements of the play.

Friday 31st August

Movement session this morning based around eye contact and working as one. Everyday the team feels stronger. In the afternoon session we started at the top of Act Two, we spent some time working out the physically of how we open the London sequence and picking up on the work that was done the other evening. Once we had explored that we went into the next scene and then the next and suddenly i thought… oh my word…we are actually running Act Two… nothing had been said and Graeme just let it run… miraculously we got to the end and it was all a bit of a daze!!! Graeme confessed afterwards he hadn't meant for it to happen, however, he thought he would let it run to see how it would go and well… we got there!!! I think this is down to the fact of the way we have been working and it was a great feeling!! We then went back and staggered through Act One which we hadn't touched since Saturday passed which also was in remarkable shape. Very inspiring :-))

Saturday 31st August

Started with a warm up movement session. Then a run… although we have not officially 'staged' the production, through all of the sessions we have been building basic shapes of scenes and rough patterns. Graeme made it clear that this run was all about intention and making sure you personally know the story you are telling and that next weeks work would be all about looking more closely at the scenes and characters and working on the "acting" etc. Having said that it was a fascinating exercise and some lovely moments came out for me. One in particular was in Act One and i was positioned at the back of the table near the wedding cake and Paula, our wonderful Miss Havisham passed me and i physically felt cold, like she was an actual ghost, it made me think more about getting closer to the characters rather than spectating so much on the story…something to be explored next week!!! Great stuff!

We finished the session with a tasting of lovely Rocco Prosecco who are one of the shows sponsors… a fitting end to another successful week :-)) full of admiration for my fellow cast members who are working so hard on these incredibly intense sessions… here's to week 3!!