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 first week of rehearsals.
Walking into rehearsal Monday morning, I didn’t know what to expect. It’s safe to say the week has been fun and at times totally unexpected.
Monday morning, we all arrived ready to begin the hard work. After playing a game of five-ball (current record: 132), and sharing an interesting fact about ourselves (llamas and spoons featured) we sat down to read Daniel Kanaber’s script. Hearing the words out loud was far better than I imagined. The script tackles complex issues involving mental health and the problems men suffer growing up. Our actors, Kyle and Darren, bring the play to life, bringing both humour and beauty to the piece.
As a theatre novice, I had no real idea of how a play goes from ‘page to stage’. I assumed that the actors just learnt their lines and received direction on how to play their part. However, this wasn’t the case. Kyle and Darren sat with director, Adam Quayle, to discuss what they thought about different key points of the play. They were asked what they thought the intentions of their characters were and why they acted the way they did. Throughout the reading they were given freedom to play the parts however they wanted. I was also surprised at the amount of background research the actors do in order to play their parts.
In order to ensure the story was believable and to help Kyle and Darren fully get into their roles we started to timeline their lives. We put together 3 timelines. We created a timeline for before the first scene. We did this to outline their family dynamics and explored why the boys acted the way they do. We then created another one for in between the first and second scene. In doing this, we discussed all the things that happened in the ten years we don’t see. This was a great exercise for helping fully create the boys’ back stories. Finally, we created the timeline for in between the second and third scene. This one was the most important due to the volume of events that defined the boys happening in the 10 years between the scenes. It allowed us to fully understand the men and helped us get into their minds.
One of the most exciting days was when we finally saw part of our set designer Kate’s set. The play takes part on a wooden platform that is slightly elevated. It’s rare and real which is why it is so effective. Looking at the model box was exciting, and I can’t wait to see it incorporated into rehearsals.
Movement has also been important this week. Because the set is stripped back, even the smallest of movements speaks volumes and it has to be planned and thought out, in order to always portray their character. Our movement director, Luke Rigg, was in charge of this. He first set exercises for the boys to do, in order to ensure they were comfortable with each other. Along with moments of laughter and Darren pretending to be a crouching tiger, the boys worked on creating a connection with each other. Before this experience, I’d not realised the work that goes into ensuring the actors are not only comfortable with each other but also to ensure they have a real believable connection. Luke also began to help the actors block their movements. It’s really exciting to see the actors begin to incorporate mannerisms into their lines and to see the characters become real. It’s also been exciting learning Chi Jong, something that pops up in the play.
A lot of the week was dedicated to something called ‘uniting’. This is something I’d never seen before and it took me a while to get my head wrapped around it. Adam, our director, sat down and went through each section of the play. They separated it into different sections depending on whether there was a mood change or moment of importance. We’d then all work together and come up with a name for the section, which sometimes was the funniest part. As an aspiring writer, this part helped me understand how to make an important moment and whilst it was hard work, it was really rewarding to finish a scene.
This past week has been so much fun. I’m so excited to see what happens next and to see the play actually come together on the set in weeks two and three!
Clare Mason, Creative Writing BA Student, Edge Hill University