In the morning, I was able to sit down with the rest of the second year actors and production arts team to have a discussion about the Saints and Sinners performance. The aim is to discuss any issues and add any other possible ideas to do with the structure of the performance. As written in my reflective journal from Wednesday, I would like to try and have more involvement in the discussion in order to contribute my ideas.
The first issue that was brought up which we must consider is the set and the design, in between performances there will be GCSE math exams. These exams will be taking place in the theatre, which is where our Saints and Sinners performance will be performed, therefore, our set will have to be collapsible to easily put away for exams, but to easily set up again for the evening to perform. We have considered a solution to this issue by deciding to create a set which can be collapsed and placed in the wings of the theatre, so it will not take up much space and will not disrupt any exams. Jack had already designed an initial idea for the set before this session started which used the platforms used from Bonnie and Clyde, which was discussed on Wednesday. As this idea was liked by everyone, including the production arts team, it does not appear to be an issue for the exams. We all agreed that the use of the theatre for exams during the day in between performances would mean that it would make sense for us to have raked seating for the audience. I did not realise that there could be other options available prior to this part of the discussion, with there also being the possibility for tables and chairs, however, raked seating would mean the chairs could be placed back quickly to bring more space to those taking the exam.
Following this, the possibility of still using tables and chairs for audiences was discussed. I thought that this idea would take more time in getting the theatre free for the next day and would also take up more space backstage when clearing the theatre. As well as that, the tables and chairs may have to be placed at different angles and behind other tables, which could mean that some members of the audience would struggle to see some of the stage and therefore, the performance. Personally, I would prefer raked seating and voiced this during the discussion, which everyone else agreed with.
It was mentioned previously in a discussion about there being two exits for the audience, one door for people to exit through a door to heaven, the other one to hell depending which stamp they had on their hand or which colour their brochure was. The prospect of using haze was brought up at the end of the performance as audiences are leaving, this would cause health and safety concerns when exiting the theatre. This is as haze getting in the corridors and other rooms will cause the smoke alarms to go off and as the performance is at night, it would cause fire engines being called. Therefore, the exits would mean that only one exit could be outside, waiting for the haze to fade, or both exits leading just to the corridor. While others did not see an issue with leading audience members outside, then allowing them back in to exit the premises, I thought this might not be necessary depending on how long this process will take, if it takes long then audiences might not be happy having to wait outside in the dark, preferring to be able to go straight back to the bistro. This is something that I believe will be discussed another time once we can get the rest of the year group together to decide.
One final aspect discussed was the corridors between the pre-drinks bar in the bistro and the cabaret club in the theatre. Once it is time to go in the theatre, audiences members will have to walk from the bistro, through the corridor into the theatre. We had not previously discussed decorating the corridor, but once it was mentioned, I commented that this would be a great idea, as we don’t want the audience to gain the bar atmosphere in the bistro, only to lose it by walking through a college corridor, then getting back in the atmosphere in the theatre. If we darken the corridors, adding images related to the Saints and Sinners theme, while adding music as they walk though, they can keep the theme alive throughout, which everyone else agreed with.
Following this discussion, we have decided that everyone from each pathway should nominate someone from their class to be communicator. This is important as if there have been any discussions or changes, that person can let everyone else know, which can avoid leaving anyone out. If we are letting them know of changes, we need to keep it open for discussion, so they can still be involved.
In conclusion, my aim was to get more involved in the discussion, which I felt I did, particularly when explaining my views to the group about the theme running through the corridor to keep the atmosphere alive.
The afternoon session with Lynn and the other actors was a great chance to also involve the Musical Theatre students, as they did not have a lesson. This was a great opportunity as this is the last session before we break up for the Easter holidays and we are in groups with students from other pathways. I am paired with Sian for Shopping and F***ing and the whole year group will be singing ‘Rebel’ by Alyssa Bonagura, therefore, the aim for me would be to discuss with Sian what our aims over the two week break are. On our first day back (Tuesday 18th April), we will have a work in progress presentation where we will get up in our groups or individually (both in my case for Shopping and F***ing and Saint Joan) and explain to everyone what has been done so far and if we can present anything we will do.
As Sian was going away afterwards to work on other character research, we briefly talked before she left and decided that we would aim to have read the play and learned our lines by the first day back. Then once we have returned to college, we can get straight onto blocking and we won’t have to worry about blocking and running over scenes with scripts in our hands. This will allow us to play our characters full out without any holding back due to having to stop and look to see where the lines are. I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t run over the scenes again and look into our characters, however, this then gave me the opportunity to look over Saint Joan. One worry that I began to have was that I was going to focus more on one character more than the other, therefore, I spent the rest of the afternoon looking at both versions of the monologue I had. I had a copy of the full monologue and the version which was cut down but decided to create another version as I felt there were other aspects which could still be cut down. In the first cut I made on Monday, I had cut out a particular line “I could do without my warhorse; I could drag about in a skirt; I could let the banners and the trumpets and the knights and the soldiers pass me and leave me behind as they leave the other women”. I decided to keep this line cut as I felt it was a definite line that was not necessary in the theme of Saints and Sinners, I also decided to cut other lines out, which can be seen below:
Highlighted: Lines kept
Crossed out: Cut lines
Left with no markings: Undecided
Originally, I kept the line “It is not the bread and water I fear: I can live on bread: when have I asked for more? It is no hardship to drink water if the water be clean. Bread has no sorrow for me, and water no affliction”. However, in relation to the link of Saints and Sinners, I feel that there is already enough content to this theme in the monologue which creates a stronger link, particularly the mention of God at the end. I also had to think about the running time, the monologue should not last too long so audiences lose focus.
This is all I was able to do in this session, however, before Wednesday 19th April, I must have research relating to Saint Joan, Shopping and F***ing, my three initial ideas and cabaret clubs completed to add to my performance and carry on with the rehearsal process. However, now that I have made this cut to the monologue, I am satisfied with the length and content, so I can now look at learning it.