I thought this image was very appropriate for how I feel today about the work in the room. Pulled, twisted, constricted, and dramatic (complete with fabulous outturned elbow) with people caught up in my twisted threads.
I should point out that it’s not the people in the room who made me feel this way, but the process which is becoming overloaded with information and provocations. I have to take this moment to give shout outs and props to my director, Carla Kingham, and my actresses Rania Kurdi, Lara Sawalha, and Taghrid Choucair-Visozo.
Carla knows how to handle a room, provoke in all the right ways, interrogate a piece, and challenge and push me. It’s not easy to find strong actresses who were born and/or raised in the Middle East and know this culture like I do, so having Lara, Rania and Taghrid in the room is invaluable as is their willingness to play, explore, and ask me difficult questions.
The first half of the day yielded the most results for me this week. I am not a fan of acting exercises or games. Only because it’s not the methodology I grew up with working in the NYC. For me, it’s all about get up there, say the words, investigate the text, mean the words, and get home. Sometimes, I do think the exercises take the piss. But when Carla does them she sure as hell does them for a reason. Today was about Hot Seating and it was incredible to see what the three actresses were able to come up with based on only 4 days of very complex and wide-ranging discussions. It sparked three different scene ideas in my head.
The second half was a little more difficult as we read through the pages I wrote yesterday. Full disclosure: They were crap. I knew they were crap. Some of it was, I thought, good. But I knew I was floundering. The reaction was expected and at some point I found myself defending myself when there was really nothing to defend when I haven’t even formulated the whole piece yet! But what the friendly interrogation DID help me do was hear the gaps and needs and potentiality of the piece. It helped me think about a structure that might work as well as the answers to why I want to use movement, music, and looping with the text.
So when Carla suggested I do a bulleted potential story for our last day tomorrow I was game for it. It was time to pull together all the random ideas I was having during the week to see if there was indeed a story. So on the tube tonight from my writing class, I started on it. And from Goodge Street to Golders Green I sketched out what I think and hope is the core narrative story of this new play. The fun, and challenge, will be how I take the ‘traditional’ story beat and dismantle it and bring it back together to create new meaning through a different structure.
Sure, I could take it easy and just write the narrative drama. But I got into this R&D and applied for funds to try new practices and see what works for me and if I could indeed create work in different ways. Even if it is some colossal failure, at least I’ll have come away learning that this kind of process doesn’t work for me.
Yeah. No pressure.