Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Cherry and Ham

I forget to say............On going to Newcastle I went to see Chekov's 'The Cherry Orchard' at The People's Theatre. I know the People's people really well and have done a lot of work there myself over the years. It was good to see some familiar faces on stage and in the production team and to be in a familiar theatre.

I was immediately struck by how much I love this play! Chekov seems to encapsulate so much about human feeling, expression, nature and life that it's impossible not to swept along with his words. He does for me what Beckett always wants to, present us something which is 'real' and shows us the 'dreariness' of our own lives, but with much more wholesome and complete results. I can see why we use it so much in our lectures. There's so much in the lines that is to be drawn out, speculated upon and ultimately explored.

As for the show, it was a first direct by my friend Ben and he did a good job. There's a lot of people in the play and it is a huge undertaking. It's also good to see people taking risks now and again, Ben choosing not to stage the play conventionally but in a stylised way. Bringing the cast on as a group of travellers who tell the story, and creating a set which looks like an old run-down home. Whether they all paid off, I'm not entirely sure. But I think it shows a lot of imagination and potential as Ben continues to grow and develop.

It reminded me of how much I like directing and also, how important voice work is in Directing a play and getting the best from your actors. Voice is not to be confined in the warm up; and should not even be confined to accent or articulation work. But truly used as a means to get your actors to communicate the story through the words, connect to the text, and explore their body and voice through performance in a way that other disciplines don't. I can't wait to get started on Arabian Nights and use the techniques that I am so confident about. And show the actors what good there is in using Voice work as part of their performance work every day!!

On the second note.................Ben and I have found a house and we are soon to be residents of Ham (of Mark Griffin fame). From then on we can start to feel like real dwellers of South est London and begin to plan our new lives in this new location with good roots and foundations. Very excited!!! And can't wait for the old fashioned piano parties already.

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