Rehearsals for Bracken Moor are in well under way, and Assistant Director Rosy Banham has written this post to let us know what they’ve been up to.
We’re into Week Three of rehearsals now and the characters are really starting to come to life, while the story itself feels increasingly charged and chilling.
Our work in the rehearsal room is largely falling into four strands. The first – and perhaps the most obvious – is discussion. As a group, we’ve discussed characters’ back stories, their objectives and superobjectives (their “wants”), their obstacles (whatever gets in the way of these “wants”), and of course the historical context in which they live. The actors have shared their research on Yorkshire mining communities, domestic service, the London debutante season, and much, much more.
The second strand is physical work with Liz Ranken, the show’s movement director. In these sessions, we’ve embodied the characters’ inner lives, while also looking at the social ‘covers’ which they construct in the company of others. Last week, we explored traditionally male postures (bound, direct and heavy) and traditionally female ones (free, indirect and light) – the two might well have felt more pronounced and polarised in the early 20th century.
The third strand is improvisation, which colours the characters’ back stories, making the present action of the play detailed, vivid and real. We have improvised episodes from characters’ childhoods and discussed the ways in which their upbringings may have impacted upon their adult lives. We’ve also improvised events between the play’s scenes and acts to ensure that we have a shared and specific conception of the story’s progression.
The fourth and final strand is scene work, which is of course informed and enhanced by all of the other strands. Specificity, detail and clarity emerge in the scene work when the other strands are feeding in and yielding new discoveries. The work in the coming weeks will be to go on exploring, mining the text for information and impulses, so that the world feels truly alive for the show’s audiences.
View photos from the Bracken Moor rehearsal room our our Facebook page.