Edge Hill University Creative Writing student, Clare Mason, is observing the rehearsal process for Under Three Moons as part of a work experience placement with Box of Tricks.
In this blog post, she shares her insights on the second week of rehearsals.
After a weekend resting, we were ready to begin week two. There was lots of hard work and a new record in five ball, 237.
Our big focus this week was putting the play on to the stage. Building on the work of the week before, we started by looking at each scene. The actors worked with Luke, the movement director, to create believable character. Mental health presents itself physically, so Luke spent time discussing with Paul how to show this. Together they worked on creating little mannerisms and more importantly effectively and responsibly showing mental health. It involved little things like the shaking of a hand or a certain look, but it ended up being really powerful. The movement presents a physical manifestation of what the characters are going through. I didn’t realise how much movement influences the words and how much they add to the story.
Working on the platform did bring up some issues. With the actors never leaving the stage, costumes and props had to be worked into each scene without it becoming jarring. Instead of apologising for it, Adam Quayle, the director, made a point of showing the props and the actors changing. It all became part of a story. We developed this through the use of transitions. Adam and Luke both decided that the space around the platform would be the place where the actors start their journey to the next scene. We played around with different paces and different levels, all creating a story. It was also incorporated for practical reasons.
During these transitions, the costumes needed to be developed and changed to fit the next scene. It was interesting to see how all the costumes Kate, the set designer, put together revolve around the same base layer. This helped the actors change from one scene to another quickly but also helped tell the story of their development as people. It was amazing to watch how something that would usually be hidden, like an actor changing shoes, could be choreographed to tell a story. The changing of the characters brings more to the story than I initial realised it would.
We also got to hear the music that would be played throughout the transitions and scenes. Chris Hope, the composer, has done an amazing job and the music really adds to each of the scenes. The transitions especially were enhanced with the adding of the music. It allowed the actors to plan their movements and play around with different beats and rhythms.
The props used by the characters were also a big part of this week. We played around with the logistics of taking them out of the space as well as how they can be used to continue the story. It was cool to see how the placement off a bed or a baby monitor effected the scene that was taking place. However, we also had to deal with some problems. We use an electronic cigarette in a couple of the scene and in doing so have to deal with the logistics of putting it out. Due to it being plastic, something as simple and stubbing it out became a lot more complicated. We played with different methods of removing it and found some really unique and fun ways that add to the story.
I’m really excited to see what happens over the next week. It’ll be nice to see the characters continue to develop as well as see more of the set. I’m also excited to see if they can beat their 5-ball score.
Clare Mason, Creative Writing BA Student, Edge Hill University