On Thursday 8th December, all groups from all pathways completed a rehearsed reading of their proposed Theatre In Education piece. My group completed our rehearsed reading of ‘Olivia and the Disappearing Stories’, which is aimed for a Key Stage 1 audience with the topic of English. For the reading, we did not have a full group as Emma was not in college, however, we had Erica step in for us so this did not have any effect on our performance.
Before the rehearsed reading, there have been struggles with our group in terms of getting the script completed and expanded. Because of this, we were unable to have a lesson altogether where we could block our piece and talk it through. This meant that we had a brief discussion of the blocking just before the reading, despite this, I feel that we were able to quickly get into a rhythm and do what we felt would be natural, which I felt worked. This is because we made the blocking simplistic, we had the bed set centre stage and something which represented the flap at the back. However, we know that as a group, this is something we will definitely change once we have the set script, this would then mean that we can properly establish the real world and dream world.
The feedback we were given has given greater confidence that our piece will meet the needs for a Key Stage 1 audience. It was mentioned that there was a set objective and the message was imposed that we were trying to encourage children to read. Despite this comment, there was a comment made that there was a bit of confusion about what children were meant to come out of the piece knowing. Although we explained this and was able to clear the confusion, we then talked about how our workshop will be a massive help for our piece.
Although our piece has a set structure, a main area we must make improvements on is the script overall. We have had problems with expanding the script through the whole process as there were concerns that we would end up dragging scenes out. However, after getting the feedback that the issues in the forest with the fairy tale characters are resolved too quickly, we can now work with that and expand this. In order to do this, we can make the characters more distressed, leading them to explain the situation further, especially with the wolf which will lead to a bigger build up. In order to develop the piece further, we can take on the feedback given that we can have a hero’s quest, with the characters in distress taking Olivia on a quest to help them find the missing character. By doing this, it can make our piece much longer than what it is, our piece overall needs to be at least 20 minutes long, our reading on Thursday was 11 minutes. I have noticed that while writing the script, we have spent more time on more scenes than others, particularly the scenes involving Olivia and her mother and then in the forest with Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. Although we have managed to expand these scenes, it made it clear reading over the script and watching back the reading that the scenes with the bears and the wolf were a lot shorter and hadn’t had as much attention. Although we need to expand every scene still, I feel that those two will have to be our priority when working through the script again.
Before we can take ‘Olivia and the Disappearing Stories’ on tour around primary schools, we need to all look through our characters and see how we can all develop them. This was the first time we had showed an audience our piece and we had a script in hand, which meant we couldn’t full get into character, however, even without a script, we know we can really improve. Watching back the reading gave me ideas on how I can improve as an individual with my character. As the mother, I have a key role in encouraging not only Olivia, but our audience to either start or continue reading. In order to sound more passionate about this subject, I need to start developing my character and look into her relationship with Olivia, her background and whether she lives alone with Olivia. As well as that, I will also look into giving her a name and an age. I have already decided that she will not be a mother who threatens to take her daughter’s items away just because she will not read, this could create the danger of her becoming the enemy of the piece. Although I will write notes about this, I feel that a good way to really get into my character is to look further into the Uta Hagen questions which I looked at in task 2. For the rest of the group, there are some who will be multi-rolling, although costume will really be able to establish characters, making improvements to voice and movement can enhance this. As we start to go into the rehearsal stage of our commission, I will suggest to the group that we complete a hot seating activity so everyone in the group has an opportunity to ask everyone questions.
As mentioned, we will have a workshop which will take place after performing our piece, we have had the idea of splitting our Key Stage 1 audience into groups and doing a hot seating activity with them. In small groups, we will ask each child to think of their favourite story character, they will then be asked a small amount of easy questions so others can guess their character. With this activity, it can possibly introduce the students to new characters and books which they would not have heard of before, which I feel will work well with our objective to encourage children to read new stories.
In conclusion, I feel that our rehearsed reading went very well, we were able to show our audience our full script without stopping. Although we were a member missing, that didn’t effect our performance and we knew what we were doing throughout. However, there are many ways to improve, especially with our characterisation and script. Once we have developed the script even more, we can then look at getting into the rehearsal process to properly block it and turn it into a touring piece.