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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

4th Rehearsal Proper 23/2/05

Tonight was decision night. It was the point where I had to get people to 'buy in' to the concept of the overall structure.
I'd given the group four options. To paraphrase...
A) I don't want a director. I want you to delegate the overall structure to us, the workers/cast. Revolution!
B) I don't want a director. I want you to guide us by offering three choices of overall structure.
C) I don't want a director. I want you to excite us with your unique vision, ie get on with it.
D) I want my Director back!
This had been based on the Skill/Will matrix I had found on the following website...
http://www.leaps-bounds.co.uk/
(It's worth the search, somewhere in free stuff)
Most of the cast had plumped for B), except Lucy, who plumped for C), Duncan who chose A) and Amanda who initially chose A), but, when sent the following email, decided on C) instead.

>Hi Amanda,
>>Emma has emailed me to let me know you plumped for me delegating story structure to you as the cast.

>>Therefore, you get a head start on this phase. If you've got time, have a think about the overall story. We will be finalising this tomorrow night. Duncan has also plumped for Option 1 so far. He is going to bring his suggested story to the rehearsal tomorrow. I'm really excited to see how you will interpret the material we've collected so far. Here are a few tips on story organising from Mike Stewart's workshop over the weekend...

>>A) There are five basic story structures.
>>They are:->1) Overcoming The Monster - Think Jaws, Beowulf, Godzilla
>2) Rags To Riches - Think Cinderella, Pretty Woman, Rocky
>3) The Quest - Think Holy Grail, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, (In fact, any >Indiana Jones film...)>4) Voyage & Return - Think Jason & The Argonauts, Pinocchio, Star Trek
>5) Rebirth - Think Sleeping Beauty, Snow White & The Seven Dwarves, The Resurrection...
>>Some stories encompass all these elements. For an example, look no further than Lord Of The Rings. Think about how each story structure appears within it.

>>B) You also need to decide if your structure is Comic or Tragic. This is defined by your ending. 'A tragedy is just comedy interrupted'. Equally, comedy is a tragedy that is resolved. Again, some stories encompass both elements and are 'tragicomic' (See One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest).
I'd like to produce a play which has people in tears of both laughter and sadness...

>>C) Lastly, think about how you ramp up the tension. Satisfying Films/Plays tend to follow a 'Three Act' strategy.
>a) Establish the situation.
>b) Ramp up the tension.
>c) Climax and Resolution.
>I've paraphrased a bit, but you get the gist.

>>Maybe use the game of consequences to help structure the story/scenes.
>Who are the protagonists (2 Minimum)?
>Where are they?
>When is the play/scenes set?
>Why is it of interest?
>What was said (can include body language)? This should include a statement, a response and response to the response.
>How does the situation pan out?

>>>>I'm conscious that this may well be info overload. Let me know if anything needs more explaining, or if you plump for a different choice...
>>R-)

As you can see, I basically sent what I'd learnt from the weekend with Mr. Stewart.
With Duncan wanting to have a crack at the structure, I figured his could be 1 of the 3 multiple choices I would offer the group. All the cast were due at the rehearsal, and a decision would be made...

Not everyone was able to get there for 6.30. We were rehearsing in the Small Hall next to the Biko and this had lots of purple notice boards set out, presumably for some sort of display which was due to happen the next day. As people filtered in and joined us, I thought I'd do some recap on games we'd played previously...
1) Darkin Shoe Throwing Game. This I was beginning to see as a metaphor for the order of stories, and that it would be a case of one cast member telling a story, then passing it on. With the added obstacles of the notice boards, I replaced throwing a shoe with throwing my balled up scarf, and a curly afro wig. We played it to death. I think, it's use has been exhausted for this cast.
2) We played the villagers and bear game. I was thinking that Nicki may use a similar movement piece later in the show. This I may discard eventually, though. We started with just Anne being the bear. People had learnt from the last time we played it, and all but Carl chose to hide their eyes... Not only that, but the cast didn't notice that Nicki (who is due to hide in the set) was missing, she had hidden so well. Becky and Nicki, both survived the bear ordeal, despite licking and drooling, and tickling being employed by unscrupulous bears.
3) Fiasco. A couple of the cast had yet to play this - Sidrah and Michelle. This was a bit of a Baptism of fire for them, but they both coped magnificently.
We wound this up, just as Amanda was the last to arrive about 7.30pm.
So it was time to pitch the structures.
I let Duncan go first. We had a flip chart which he could use. He also had a lot of notes. I was nervous. Would he have come up with a better concept than me? Would the cast slap me down, and pick his story?

His was a tale of chaos and death. It involved Gangsters. Raf going mad and killing people. He'd come up with three ideas in a similar vein, all of which ended up with someone being alone. It was interesting to see which stories he'd picked out, and which he was still unaware of. The birthday party was there, as was his flying/swimming with sharks and Raf's story. I think he got a bit of a nerve attack, though. It was a brave attempt, and I wanted to work some of his thoughts into my own stories.

I then took the floor.
I pitched that my first story was a Story Of Love.
I asked who had seen their email today. Some had. I got them to recount my mystery about the Valentine Card (which I had sent them all). Many thought it was a fabrication, and there was an audible gasp when I produced the actual card and envelope. I involved them, by getting those who had not read the story to try and solve the mystery. A couple of the cast, bought in then and there, telling new stories which my own story threw up. There was a frisson of excitement in the air. I detailed the order/structure as follows:-
Friendship Love - Throwing a surprise birthday party.
Infatuation Love - A crush unrequited.
Demonstrative Love - Love writ in bold.
Reciprocated Love - The dance.
First Flush Of Love - Flying/Swimming with Sharks.
Sibling Love/Relationship Attacked - A shoulder to cry on.
Tortured Love - Everything goes wrong (I didn't have a proper story here yet)
Broken Love - We're pushed too far.
Reconciled Love/Parental Love - We return to the family home or resolve the issue.

My second story was a Story of Life.
I didn't pitch this as hard, because a) I was running out of time, we'd nattered so much about the love story, and b) This was actually the same story as the Story of Love.
The only differences were the mention of someone being born from the boot of the car and a death/rebirth scenario occuring at the climax.

A couple of the cast bought into this, too.
As we'd spent the majority of the rehearsal, talking and not doing, I gave everyone a cake for their patience, asked them to email me their choice of:
a) Duncan's Story
b) A Love Story
c) A Life Story
so I could prepare rehearsals for the weekend, and crossed my fingers...

We headed over to Flares for a couple of drinks. I nattered briefly with our techie Johnboy. Iain told me that, if I fancied, he would give me feedback on the show as if it had been put into NSDF competition. I wilfully accepted this offer, and headed home, tired.

My first performance was over.

Next morning, Anne sent me an email, and the love jigsaw was complete...

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