Grimm Tales Retold – Inside Rehearsal Week 2

We’re currently in rehearsals for Grimm Tales Retold, our latest collaboration with the Department of Drama & Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham. Throughout the rehearsal period, we’ve been working with a brilliant ensemble of students to bring Phil’s script alive and we invited the cast to write guest blog posts about the process. Find out what happened in the rehearsal room during week two below.

You can also read about what happened during week one of rehearsals here, and book tickets for the show online here.

Bethany Hartland
Monday 15th January, 9am – 1pm

Hi, it’s Beth!

After the usual warm-up of Tag and Bananas Of The World, Unite!, a futile attempt at Quad (sorry, Gareth!) and unsuccessfully moving into our right positions for the A B C and D Friendship Circles (to be fair, a couple of the cast weren’t in rehearsal today) – we finally started our Monday the way all Mondays should start: by pretending to be foxes.

I don’t know about you but I admit my knowledge on the ol’ fox proved to be very little. However, our three years of Drama training at university meant that merely putting a bit of Little Mix on full blast resulted in many an inner fox rising to the surface. In pairs we created various fox sequences – the ‘Peeping Fox’ had to be one of my favourites, though the leg bounce and glide that accompanied it was surprisingly complex. After learning one another’s sequences and filming them for future use, we moved onto fox tics and I have to say I have the ‘itchy fox with a leg twinge’ down! Although it all sounds rather bizarre, the foxes will actually have a clever purpose, I promise.

I’m looking forward to doing more work with the Office Twats and their characters; I think they are going to be a really fun addition to the play.

We then moved onto developing a sequence involving the Office Twats from the final scene. Although it took FAR too long for seven people to work out that we needed to fill four beats each for the sequence to work, once we had all the folders successfully moving down the line, it looked pretty damn good. Having the remixed Muppet music playing alongside the gestures makes it feel incredibly slick and cool, and because of that I don’t even care that the tune was stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I’m looking forward to doing more work with the Office Twats and their characters; I think they are going to be a really fun addition to the play.

I can’t wait for people to see it all!

#QuakeGrimm

Scott Wilson
Monday 15th January, 2pm – 6pm

It’s logistics week!!! We worked through the Cinderella scene and the first couple of scenes with me and my loving brother Will. It’s great seeing the show take shape as we start to add props into the mix. A particular favourite prop of mine is the gingerbread house that I am not allowed to eat, but we’ll see how long that lasts once we get into show week! It’s also been great being able to rehearse with the stage dimensions marked up in the rehearsal room and getting to grips with the stage space we have.

We also looked at the moment of my onstage costume change – calm yourselves!! Let’s just say thank goodness there’s a sofa to hide behind!

I’m absolutely loving getting to develop my character further and finding all the different sides to him. It turns out he’s got an emotional side too, who knew?!

I’m absolutely loving getting to develop my character further and finding all the different sides to him. It turns out he’s got an emotional side too, who knew?! We’ve got a full improvised run of the show at the end of this week and I’m so excited to see the whole production come together. Everybody is working so hard and it really is paying off. This is definitely a show that you don’t want to miss!

#QuakeGrimm #TeamJake

Georgiana Poteiciuc
Tuesday 16th January, 9am-1pm

Every rehearsal brings a new idea, a new perspective, and a new detail.

This Tuesday we have been focusing on the Hansel and Gretel scene. We started, as usual, with a few physical and vocal exercises in order to prepare our bodies for performing. During the first few rehearsals I remember wondering why we were going to need to go through the same scene so many times. It is amazing, however, to see how a specific moment, even a few lines, can develop and grow in complexity and become well defined once explored in different ways. Every rehearsal brings a new idea, a new perspective, a new detail that would have never been discovered without practice. This was also the case with Hansel and Gretel. We had been focusing on what each character wants most at each moment, without worrying about movements, set and logistics. It was now time to think a little more about these elements.

With the scripts in our hands for the first time we explored how our wants affected the way we moved in the space. I particularly like the way Jake and Will fit in the scene at the beginning and interact with us without us actually seeing them. Overall it has been a really productive rehearsal which made me understand better both the characters and the scene and I am looking forward to what is yet to come.

Lydia Sirovica
Wednesday 17th January, 2pm – 6pm

We are well and truly on our way to an almost completed show. It’s really starting to come together now and it is such an exciting process!

In today’s rehearsal we took a first look at the final sections of the play where I play Valentina. I have to admit this is one of my favourite parts of the play. I was told today to ‘BE BOLD’ and really ‘think about what I want.’ I think I did both of these techniques quite well and it helped me discover that actually Valentina is a bit of a manipulative character in the end… which is very fun to play! I feel as though these last few scenes are the crescendo of the play, with all of us on stage as a full cast performing. The ‘Office Twats’ are the absolute highlight of my rehearsals at the moment and if I wasn’t playing Valentina, I would definitely have enjoyed being a Twat! Grimm Tales Retold is certainly now on its feet and really starting to take its shape.

I feel as though these last few scenes are the crescendo of the play, with all of us on stage as a full cast performing.

Thursday 18th January, 1pm – 5pm
William Melhuish

‘Fairy-tale rehearsal process?’

After last week, it was clear to see that morale was high going into Monday morning’s rehearsal. After working on wants and improvisation last week, there was a certain confidence in the shape of the play and our abilities as actors. This week was a bit more intense; scenes were explored logistically and it was clear to see that people had already started to work on their scripts. As a result, we were all keen to show the potential that we had as actors going into a professional environment. After last week, Gareth promised us a more hands-on dissection of each of the scenes and boy did he mean it!

After last week, Gareth promised us a more hands-on dissection of each of the scenes and boy did he mean it!

Thursday’s rehearsal was focused around my scene in particular (Little Red Riding Hood), and it gave me a chance to explore my relationships with the space and also the other characters. As we began to develop the scene, a certain chill of homicidal eloquence slowly appeared within my character. It was so enjoyable seeing my character change as we explored his ‘wants’ and his relationships to the individual characters. Gareth is so effective in the way that he discourages the old cliché acting techniques of the tongue-in-cheek Bond villain. Instead, he asked me to explore the character with a disturbing calmness which seems to give nothing away to the audience (which I can only say, drastically improves the scene).

Bring on next week!

George Bandy
Thursday 18th January, 6-10pm

Thursday evening’s rehearsal was daunting, as it carried with it the prospect of a full run of the show, without scripts, the next day. It was our last chance to approach not just any scene, but possibly the most logistically confusing and intense scene in the play. The Rumpelstiltskin scene, without giving too much away, brings with it a vast number of unique props for every single actor in the show, which are all moved about the stage, exchanged, brought on and off, and are generally a pain. Additionally, the scene requires very sensitive performances, touching on potentially troubling themes, and utilising everything from extremely intimate moments, to slapstick ones.

Approaching the scene having already explored it using the ‘wants’ process that Gareth, our director, uses, it became a lot easier to then cover the logistics of the scene without worrying about filling them in later. It meant that we were able to structure the scene around performance, rather than performance around the logistical aspects, which was enormously helpful for us as performers.

Working in this way meant that we were able to structure the scene around performance, rather than performance around the logistical aspects of the production.

Additionally, it meant that we were already very aware of the challenges of the scene, and had had time to process them in advance, rather than being surprised by them. Right from the beginning of this second ‘logistical’ look at the scene, Gareth ensured that each actor was keeping track of the number of props that they moved, used, exchanged, etc., which meant that we were able to be very efficient in working through the scene, rather than having to wait whilst one member of the stage management team logged each individual instance. Furthermore, it meant that every actor had a better understanding of the backstage preparations that they would have to undertake.

Finally, having already explored our ‘wants’ for the scene, we were far more comfortable when it came to working out the logistics. My character, especially, has a large emotional journey in this scene, and I found it very useful to cover the aspects in this order.

Unfortunately, due to the duration of the scene, we found ourselves left without enough time to fully complete the work on the evening, but this is something that time was left for before the run-through the following day, and meant we would be more careful of timescale in the future.

Charlotte Biggs
Friday 19th January, 2pm – 6pm

This production is full to the brim with laughs, tears and some very surprising moments. The process has really allowed me to push myself further as an actor.

Hi! It’s Charlotte again.

This blog post is about our final rehearsal of Week 2. I cannot believe how quickly the whole process is going! In this rehearsal, we did a full, improvised run through of Grimm Tales Retold, and it was fantastic! Considering we only started to work with the scripts two weeks ago, I cannot believe how far we have come.

This production is full to the brim with laughs, tears and some very surprising moments. I have never performed in a production like this before, and it’s been such a fantastic experience. The process has really allowed me to push myself further as an actor, especially with this run through, which was improvised without scripts. You really are going to be kicking yourself if you miss this show, so get your tickets now!

#QuakeGrimm #TeamSukie

By | 2018-01-27T11:48:34+00:00 January 27th, 2018|Tags: , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Gareth
Gareth is Co-Director of Little Earthquake alongside Philip Holyman.

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