Task 10 Reflective Journal: Thursday 26th January (Character Work)

Continuing with rehearsals for Olivia and the Disappearing stories, the purpose of this rehearsal was to go over everything that we have blocked, adding in parts that we have changed. By the end of the session, I would like to have run everything with my group and brought in the changes we discussed.

For my character, the main part I need to be aware of in terms of changes is the ending scene. We have cut the scene beforehand with Olivia in the school yard and instead, the letter from Peter Pan and Tinkerbell which Olivia reads will take place in her yard. There will be no mention of Katie being unwell, I think that this will be an improvement to the piece as this mention of Katie does not really have a purpose in the piece. For the ending, there will now be more interaction at the end with the mother and Olivia. I have decided to make the mother want Olivia admit to her that reading is a good thing for her and to have realised her mistake of not wanting to read. However, I don’t want to do this in a patronising way, instead I will portray this section in a joking manner.

After running through the piece with Erica, I decided to do some extra work on developing the mother. At the moment, I only know her as ‘The Mother’ and ‘Mum’ in the script. Because I haven’t thought of much of a backstory to her, I don’t feel that I can really portray her character enough. First of all, I started to think of names that I could give her which would relate to what she is like based on the script. I want the mother to love reading, this is shown especially when telling Olivia how great reading is. I had the word ‘imagination’ in my head and thought of the name Imogen, this is what I have now decided to call her. Imogen is 32, went through higher education, met someone during university and later married him and had Olivia when she was in a stable job at 25.

We had already talked about her relationship status briefly before, however, I wanted to take this into more context. Imogen is divorced and now, only lives with Olivia, this is after her husband had a job opportunity which meant moving across the other side of the country. As Imogen had already moved with him before, she started to get worried that this risk of this happening every couple of years would cause Olivia to be unsettled. Therefore, she split from her husband for the protection of her daughter and to allow her to have a stable upbringing. I don’t believe she would have too many regrets about this as this would also mean she can stay in her job at a children’s ward as a nursing assistant. I though of her working with children as she might read patients stories when they are in bed, so she can encourage others to read, This job would mean she is not always home when Olivia is leaving school and instead would go to her friends house until Imogen finished work. This idea came to me through the first line which Imogen speaks: “Tell me more about your day at school”. This scene happens just before Olivia goes to bed, so it is not straight after school, which game me this idea.

This small exercise was vital to me getting to know my character and now, I can keep this in mind and add this to my character when performing it. I know that my audience will not know Imogen’s backstory, however, as the actor playing her, it can create a better vision and world of this character.