As discussed in our year meeting on Monday, Friday 12th May was dedicated to having our first stumble run of the entire ‘Saints and Sinners’ show. The purpose was to run through the whole show with the pieces and links from the script that had been written by Beth, Jack and Emma. We could then see which parts of the script work well but also see what the weak links are, we would then have time to go over what would need adapting in the script and change any pieces. My aim was to run through both of my pieces and run through my link scenes as Ruby so I know when I am on stage, I am also aiming to get feedback on my pieces.
Playlist of stumble run:
We started from the beginning with the waitresses giving the health and safety talk, which had been agreed in a previous meeting. A lot of the pieces were the first time I had seen or heard them, after hearing Jack sing Saint Jimmy for the first time, I think that it creates an explosive and exciting opening to the show, however, I think that if the waitresses are going to sing the opening lines, they need to be a lot stronger as it wasn’t sung with much power.
The first link issue we had was with ‘I Want to be Seduced’, which was sung by Sian and played on guitar by Tom, although the song was sung well, the link to it is weak. Currently, it seems that Sian’s character Lulu goes up to do a mic check by singing the song, however, usually in a club, it would happen before the club is open, for me it is weird as she suddenly gets up to sing, even though they talk about other acts coming up. This was mentioned in Birgitta’s notes, which needs to be looked at as she went into watching this stumble run with no idea of what the show was about, other audience members may also feel the same so we need to keep it clear.
Other songs that are included in the show is ‘I want to be evil’ which is sung by Chloe, which although I think is coming along, still needs work in terms of characterisation, there is a lot of focus on the characters watching on stage. Although this is good because her character at this point is an act, there needs to be a balance between performing towards them and the paying public audience. This is something that I also need to take into consideration as I am also playing an act so I need to make sure that I also keep that balance. The feedback which was given was also about characterisation and how that should vary, I like that it is sweet at the beginning as it goes along with the lyrics, but as she sings ab out wanting to be evil, I think that evil personality should start to come out, developing throughout the song. Once again, I think that the link going into the act is slightly weak, as there is literally no introduction to the piece, although this creates some comedy, there needs to be an introduction as to why this links to the theme we have been given.
This turned out to be an issue throughout the script, the theme of the whole commission is ‘Saints and Sinners’, although the pieces chosen for the performance link to the theme, it is not stated in the performance. Therefore, the audience may not be too clear what the link is to the theme of the performance. It was mentioned by Lynn that a problem solver is when introducing a cabaret act to mention whether they are a saint or sinner, which I think would work as it is a club in purgatory and in the divide of heaven and hell. Some of the links which had this issue included my Saint Joan monologue, which only had the mention of having the patience of a saint and then silencing everyone as the next act was up. This is also a similar issue to Shopping and F***ing, there is a link scene towards the beginning where my character, Ruby enters, but Lulu mentions how she can deal in any other club but this one. Although this sets it up well at the time, I don’t think it links too well when it comes to the actual scene, this is not an act so Saint Jimmy cannot introduce it. I think to solve this, a link at the beginning of the actual piece in act 2 before the piece starts which mentions about dealing in other clubs will help solve it instead of going straight into the scene. I know that I can also make this work with my characterisation, in previous rehearsals, we have decided that Ruby is an airhead, as the link in act 1 is before the scene where she is beaten up, I can make her very upbeat and cheery with no worries. But in the second act when she comes in to do the scene, although she is still confused and slightly cheery, when it comes to her talking about how she was hit, the mood can become more serious. In terms of the Saints and Sinners link, I have written in a reflective journal after a rehearsal with Erica that she is a saint due to wanting to make people happy. But in my view, I like that this can make audience members think and change their minds, some may think that she is a sinner at first because she is dealing drugs, but the fact that she probably doesn’t realise this as she feels it is a way to make people happy can create that debate.
Other examples of link issues which were raised in this rehearsal included: the dance between Faye and Zoe with Jess singing in the background. There is a chat between Faye and Sophia which gives the audience an idea about the dance, but as it is a confrontational dance, there needs to be more interaction between Zoe and Faye before the dance starts in order to create that tension. The link afterwards which b rings Sophia back in to sing ‘Nothings Gonna Harm You’ is very minimal, the song was sung very well, but again, I think there needs to be more dialogue which sets up the comforting side to the scene.
Acts which I think worked well were the posh boys, although work needs to be done on their characterisation and accent, their written characters all create comedy and once worked on, I think will work very well. Although they have been taken from one piece of script, their characters have been written and expanded into the script well, keeping their characters consistent throughout, not changing from the original script. Their use of characters have worked well to link them to other pieces, for example, Harry playing Edward Rochester to also play into Jane Eyre and Tom playing George to work well into ‘Dogfight’ with Beth.
Although many of them haven’t been finished, I also really enjoyed watching the dances, particularly Jess during ‘Hellfire’, ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and ‘Ex-Confrontational dance’. There is a lot of content within the dances with routines that fit well into the Saints and Sinners theme, for example, Zoe playing Faye’s abusive ex-girlfriend. However, one issue I had with these pieces were characterisation, I found that with a lot of the dances, there were no facial expressions with the dances, which I understood because they were probably focusing on the dance, but it makes it less interesting to watch as facial expressions add drama.
In terms of characters, I like how Lou’s portrayal of Jane Eyre is coming along, she is starting to bring through Jane’s innocent character, playing her gentle and not a mean character despite being with Edward, who Harry has managed to make his own as a very rude posh boy. I’d still like to see their relationship go further with the love triangle with Beth as Rose and create more distance between Ed and the two girls at the end as he gets what he deserves.
Relating to that, Beth’s character Rose is one of the waitresses with Sian as Lulu and Emma as Maddie, one of the issues found out with this run through was their characters. For me, their characters are starting to come through, but they can be expanded a lot as for people who don’t know the plot, may get confused. The character I am most knowledgeable about is Lulu, who is a flirt and naughty, which is shown by the song ‘I want to be Seduced’ and the fact that my character works with her to sell drugs. However, I think that I know this more because I have worked with Sian on Shopping and F***ing, so we have to know each others characters and the relationship. I am not completely sure of Beth and Emma’s character, so I think that this needs to be developed by adding dialogue and characteristics which show the differences between each other to make them independent.
Saint Joan– I took on Lynn’s advice from the sharing session on taking a deep breath before starting, because I am not playing Ruby, I’m playing an actress playing Saint Joan, I can have her do that. What I have learned from audition classes over the past year, I have learned that it is completely fine to take a deep breath as it avoids rushing into it, meaning I am less likely to rush the monologue. It also shows that it is a moment of focus, which I want to do to do the monologue justice and to show that it is an actress just before she performs. In terms of the lines, I was able to deliver it without looking at the script, keeping focused throughout and looking at everyone on stage and off. By taking a deep breath before, I was able to maintain the pace and keep it clear, which is what Birgitta wrote in her notes, saying that my diction was clear getting other positive comments. However, I still feel that I can improve by being certain with my movements, I want to make them minimal but still make them effective by getting closer to the audience to intimidate them.
Shopping and F***ing- The main issue that we have with this piece is reactions, although this was not brought up, I personally know that I can go even further with Ruby, we need to look at Lulu and what she thinks of the situation, which will then create the comedy within the piece. As I don’t think that she would be joking about the situation, getting fed up and getting annoyed with Ruby. Birgitta wrote in her notes about having the dialogue about the rules being brought in earlier as the piece was confusing at first, I think to solve this, the rules could be mentioned in the link before so it is set up.
Rebel- As we only briefly went over it on Wednesday blocking wise, I personally felt that I couldn’t move far as I was with the waitresses and was in a small gap, therefore, I need to look at where to go, I was thinking going towards the back out of the gap so it fits with everyone else. I forgot at first in the round that we should be quiet so that the voices blend together well, but adapted to volume, but this is something that I will note for next time. I was able to remember the words and keep in time with the round, but one of the issues I found overall was the harmonies, although I think that the last harmony worked well, the section with the boys in the first part of the second verse has a harmony towards the end which sounded uncertain and quiet.
Overall, there are parts of the script which will need to be adapted, many of the links, especially to the acts are rather weak and don’t link to the theme. However, this is what the purpose of the stumble run was, so we now have enough time to go over the script again and make these links even stronger. We will then have another run next Friday with the new script to make any last changes and we can then really get familiar with the script. I need to keep going over my pieces and practice them, while having more Shopping and F***ing rehearsals, this will be later in the week because as I have mentioned in all of my action plans, most of next week will be all day Bonnie and Clyde rehearsals.