A few things stood out for me in the final week of rehearsals. One was the idea of recovering or finding a sense of carelessess in performance, in the most positive sense of the word; once there is clarity about what the actor is playing in each scene, encouraging them to let go and not be too ‘careful’ in how they are playing it. It made me reflect on the challenge of good acting – how to keep that flexibility and freshness in each performance, while not losing the detail that has been discovered. Another related point was the importance of really listening to the other actors in a scene. The company tried an exercise which illustrated brilliantly how a conversation can be compelling to watch if the actors are really listening and responding to each other, even if the words themselves make no sense.
I’m excited about seeing the production on the Hampstead Theatre stage and the intimacy it affords – I wish I could be a fly on the wall on tour as it will be fascinating to see how different audiences respond to the play. I really admire Tamasha for their openness in inviting observers into the rehearsal room and am grateful to Kristine for her generosity with her energy, despite all the other demands on her time during the last few weeks! It has also been fantastic to meet the other observers and members of the wider Tamasha family with whom I hope I can stay in touch.
One of the themes that Kristine tried to get across within the last weeks was that the performers have to bring themselves to the work. I strongly agree with that and would think that it is essential for anything artistic and performative, and it is certainly important for me in my own artistic work. I realised though that not many participants seemed to be very familiar with this idea of bringing yourself to the process. Maybe one could even argue that this idea could apply to any collaborative working process.
If I, as an observer of this production, hadn’t been involved in the working process through little tasks such as writing blog entries, helping with the line learning, and carrying out other more directing oriented tasks, it would have been a fairly different experience for me. In that sense Kristine gave me the chance to bring myself to the process too and I accepted the invitation to collaborate with pleasure.
I was also wondering— isn’t this idea (of bringing yourself to the artistic process) similar to what Roland Barthes described in ‘the grain of the voice’? It certainly reminds me of it and seems worth looking into —that’s what I think anyway. This production has certainly been very inspiring to me in all sorts of ways.