All entries for Wednesday 17 September 2008
September 17, 2008
Day 1. Monday 08–Sep–08.
The first day of rehearsals!
We started off playing a simple status game. We were each given a card from Ace to King, with the King being the highest status and the Ace being the lowest status. We then had to act out this status (keeping our card secret) and rank ourselves in order of who we thought had the highest and the lowest. Then we were given another card, which this time we were forbidden from looking at. This we had to hold against our forehead for the rest of the group to look at. Then we were told to walk around the room and interact with the people based on the status of their card. For example you bow to the King, the highest card whilst you sneer at the Ace the lowest card. By watching the way the other members of the group treated you the aim was to guess which card you had. We then had to put ourselves in a line based on where we thought we came in the deck. Miraculously there was only one mistake when Carl, actually the 8 of spades placed himself underneath the 6 of spades. His argument for this was that it’s easier to play very high status such as the King or very low status such as the Ace or 2 whilst the numbers in between were more difficult. The difference between the 6 and the 7 being very small and therefore requiring much subtler behaviour.
We then focused attention on sudden changes between statuses. We had to walk forward and when we got to a certain point change our status significantly, going say from a 3 to a 10. A 10 would be much larger, louder and more clearly defined, whilst a 3 would be much more low-key and introspective. After rehearsing these walks we were paired together and given the task of making these walks interact and tell a story. I had developed a large, gregarious walk (very high status) and Zoë had developed a much more low-key sylph-like walk. In order to make them fit together we decided to tone my walk down to about a 4 and elevate the status of Zoë’s walk to about a 6. This led to some fairly interesting status interactions with Zoë leading me to the point of transition as a higher status character only for that status to be reversed and for my character to abandon her. We then experimented with making our actions and facial expressions bigger to increase our own status. After taking a normal everyday action (mine was washing my face) and making it a lot bigger we were put into groups to create a diorama. We created a scene involving a family struggling to get ready for school in a tiny place. The more powerful characters of the father and mother were more dominating of the space whilst the children were frequently hurried about. After the status experiments we settled down to have a read-through of the script and discussed the stage design. In all an exciting and invigorating start to the rehearsal process.