Grimm Tales Retold – Inside Rehearsal Week 3

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 three below.

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

Jordan Farrag
Monday 22nd January, 9am – 1pm

Hi! It’s Jordan…

And we are back to the third week of our rehearsals. I’m starting to feel nostalgic for the end of the show already and we haven’t even performed yet! I’m enjoying the process so much I don’t know how I’ll spend my time after the show finishes.

An early start today proved very useful as we began to shake off our weekend cobwebs with a quick game of ‘Bananas Of The World, Unite!’, followed by a frantic and chaotic cast attempting to chase one another in ‘Chaos Tag’. Subsequently, the cast were well and truly warmed up in their bodies but our minds could still do with a wake-up call. We began playing a game called ‘My Love / Your Love’ which seemed to distinguish who the future poet laureates are in the cast and who should probably steer clear of poetry altogether. I was definitely in the latter group.

I’m starting to feel nostalgic for the end of the show already and we haven’t even performed yet!

After warming up, we continued to develop some more fox and Office Twat sequences which we are thinking of including in the show. At first, I felt a little silly whilst trying to be creative and develop a fox twitch, but seeing everyone else around me giving 100% and not even thinking about their inhibitions massively spurred me on to do the same. And by the end of the session, we had all worked well together, laughed with each other and developed two sequences. I am so happy with the progress we are making in this show and I can’t wait for my friends and family to see what we have been up to.

Bethany Hartland
Monday 22nd January, 2pm – 6pm

Hi! It’s Beth, again…

Third week already! Where is the time going?!

Our Monday afternoon session consisted of working on the scene transitions for the whole performance. The process involved sorting out which props/furniture needed to be already set on the stage, which props needed to be brought on from the correct prop tables, and making sure that each prop had a designated cast member who was going to make sure everything was in the right place for the upcoming scene. Although it might not seem the most interesting of procedures, there’s a surprising amount of pressure to make sure that it’s all done in the limited transition time that is set. When you actually think about all the props used in each scene, they amount to quite a few (Gareth is going to mime them all next year, apparently!). The last thing you want to do is forget to move something for a certain scene and cause confusion for the cast members who are on stage for that moment. This pressure will undoubtedly mean that in the actual performances I will not be enthusiastically singing Little Mix’s Black Magic in the wings prior to my scene.

I had butterflies leaving the rehearsal, and although it was definitely because I felt a mixture of fear and excitement, I really cannot wait for it all to fall into place.

When you start going through these preparation elements for the play, it starts to sink in a bit more — that in just over two weeks, it will be our performances. This realisation meant I had butterflies leaving the rehearsal, and although it was definitely because I felt a mixture of fear and excitement, I really cannot wait for it all to fall into place. The final product I know is going to be amazing.

You’ll just have to wait and see! #QuakeGrimm

Georgiana Poteiciuc
Tuesday 23rd January, 9am – 1pm

I can’t believe that we are already in the third week of rehearsals. Time passes so fast when you enjoy your activities and today it passed even faster.

This Tuesday was different than all the other days, because it was the first rehearsal in George Cadbury Hall, on the very stage we are going to perform. Part of the set was already there and we were all amazed by it.

During the warm-up, Gareth asked us to get in our Friendship Circles (different group circles where we stand between different people in each circle) and we all had a surprise. Suddenly we were not able to form the circles properly anymore, it was like we had completely forgotten our places. Apparently, this happened because we changed the space. We were relying on our position in the rehearsal room to form the circles rather than the people around us, which was a mistake.

This Tuesday was different than all the other days, because it was the first rehearsal in George Cadbury Hall, on the very stage we are going to perform.

Once we finally succeeded, Gareth asked us to walk around the stage in order to familiarise ourselves with the space, the set and the props. Starting to touch everything around me made me establish some kind of connection with it and I remember thinking “This is our character’s home, therefore our new home for a while.” I believe that connecting with the objects on set is extremely important because they send me energy. They will help me if I let them instead of standing in my way as an obstacle.

The rest of the rehearsal focused on the Rumpelstiltskin scene. We were all given secret information and tasks (Gareth calls these ‘filters’) for our characters to see how this would influence the scene and the way we feel about other characters in it. I was supposed to hate Valentina and I discovered that by hating her, I was starting to hate everyone else for liking her. The change really worked for me and I believe it brings originality and purpose to my character, which is the most important thing. A character without purpose (or a want) simply doesn’t work. I am looking forward for what comes next because I am in love with this show.

Katie Webster
Wednesday 24th January, 2pm – 6pm

Today marks the halfway point!

As is standard for Production Module in the department, the Wednesday of Week 3 brings us to a stagger-through, an informal showing to the rest of the production team. This was also the first time we’d done a full run in George Cadbury Hall, and I think it is safe to say we felt a little nervous but mainly excited. We’re beginning to face the challenges of the space, mainly being how vast it is compared to the studio we’ve worked in before. I’m sure by the time you see the show (8th — 10th February, by the way…) you’ll be able to hear us loud and clear, but today the space’s acoustics got the better of us many times! I’m looking forward to working on this with Gareth, learning the correct way to support and project my voice in the space.

Overall, today’s run was very fun. A personal highlight was when Beth stood slightly too close to the door in one section and was nearly taken out by Jordan’s flamboyant entrance. We recovered and managed to push past the giggles, but that will certainly stay in my mind for many runs to come! I’m excited to build on what we’ve done so far and really explore our characters further now we’re accustomed to the space.

Who wants to know exactly what’s going to happen on stage every night!? That’s so boring… I’m loving the feeling of not knowing what could happen and not being able to anticipate each character’s reactions.

I can’t believe how far we’ve all come in two and a half weeks, not only through the production of the show itself, but how much I’ve learnt from Gareth, Phil, and the rest of the very talented cast. I’ve learnt a lot about acting, performing, experimentation and fun! Who wants to know exactly what’s going to happen on stage every night!? That’s so boring… I’m loving the feeling of not knowing what could happen and not being able to anticipate each character’s reactions. Variety is indeed the spice of my Grimm Tales Retold life.

George Bandy
Thursday 25th January, 1pm – 5pm

Grimm Tales Retold is a play that consists of a series of shorter stories, within the framework of one larger narrative, between the two Brothers Grimm, Jake and Will. Up until now, we had been looking primarily at the play in isolated scenes, with each rehearsal (for the most part) being focused upon either a specific short story, or upon a single one of the bridging scenes featuring the brothers. The narrative of the whole play, however, tells of a single night in the life of these brothers (albeit a pivotal night), with the events of their scenes actually occurring one after the other. To aid in the portrayal of this singular through-line, we today rehearsed every single scene featuring the two brothers together, and indeed ran them on from one another.

At the beginning of looking at each segment, Scott and I (playing Jake and Will respectively), were instructed to do speed-runs of our lines. This was nothing new to us, but following this were speed-runs at opposite ends of the theatre, and finally speed-runs, projecting our lines, whilst running around the theatre. By the end we were exhausted, but had realised that there was definitely far more pace and energy to be injected into every line, and whilst we wouldn’t be running on stage (or at least not constantly!), our lines would certainly benefit from the impetus that running would provide.

After speed-runs of the lines, we dived into each scene, with Gareth giving each of us secret information (such as: ‘In this scene, everything that Jake does annoys you’, or ‘Act this scene as if constantly worried that somebody is out to get you’). Not only did this hidden (from each other) agenda bring about new ideas and ways to perform each line, but it meant that we were constantly on guard for how the other actor would change their performance with their secret information, meaning that we were fully listening and engaged with the other person, as opposed to merely working on our own performance. We ran each scene multiple times to experiment with different ideas, both suggested by Gareth and some of our own, until we had settled on our final ‘filter’, as Gareth describes it, or combination thereof, to filter our ‘wants’ within the scene.

Not only did this hidden agenda bring about new ideas, it also meant that we were fully listening and engaged with the other person, as opposed to merely working on our own performance.

What was particularly useful, then, was running each scene into the next scene with the brothers, cutting out the story in the middle, so that we could experiment with maintaining the same filter from the end of one segment to the beginning of the next. This ultimately helped us to create more coherence between them, as opposed to each scene of the brothers being a sort of ‘story’ itself, and was massively useful in cementing the actual narrative progression of the play. It threw up new things, but also helped us to remember old things; Gareth picked out certain lines in the text, such as, “You’re such an oaf – Leave yourself alone!” [Will addressing Jake], to inspire the filter for Scott: “In these scene, be as gross and disgusting as possible”. It meant that we found more ways to perform each scene that made our lines feel a lot more logical and justified.

I found the rehearsal extremely useful, both in terms of securing my personal journey throughout the play, but additionally in working on the relationship with Scott, my partner for most of the play, and I can’t wait to see how that is polished to perfection in our final week of rehearsals!

#TeamWill

Lydia Sirovica
Thursday 25th January, 6pm -10pm

I think these rehearsals are slowly starting to catch up to me… we’re all knackered, but the work continues! In today’s session, we started by doing a speed run of Cinderella – and if I’m honest my brain really struggled to function that quickly. It was quite a tense exercise to take part in because your brain feels like it is working at ten thousand miles an hour trying to grasp for the lines accurately and come in at the right moments quick enough. I definitely think this will help me to know my lines inside out and I will be grabbing other cast members to give it a go outside of rehearsal time!

I am excited with where our performance is going now that we are able to rehearse in the theatre space whilst exploring the set and props – I can really see it piecing together day by day!

We then tried out different ‘filters’ for the scene, and for my character Georgia, I was given the filter of being terrified of Cassie and not wanting to do her any wrong. This is really fun to play around with and I tried to be as bold as possible in order to test whether any moments between our two characters could be carried through to the performance. In this case I have found some examples where I can do this. I also began to explore my relationship with Assista by using different filters, and from my discoveries today I think it’s safe to say Georgia will not be warming to her. After what felt like an average first stagger-through for me, I am excited with where our performance is going now that we are able to rehearse in the theatre space whilst exploring the set and props – I can really see it piecing together day by day!

Charlotte Biggs
Friday 26th January, 3pm – 7pm

As rehearsals for Week Three have drawn to a close, none of us can quite believe that we are already over halfway through this process! It’s honestly been such a fantastic journey full of excitement in every rehearsal, and I can already tell I am going to miss doing ‘Bananas Of The World, Unite!’ everyday!

For this rehearsal, Gareth got Georgiana, Jordan and myself to complete a speed run of all of our lines in Scene 2. This involved us saying our lines as quickly as possible, with the fastest pace possible. By doing this, it allowed us in rehearsals (when speaking at a normal pace) to not have the dreaded, ‘what’s my cue line?’ or ‘what’s my line now?’ at the forefront of our minds, so we could focus more on our ‘wants’ and the boldness of the scenes. After this speed run, Gareth then gave all of us individual ‘filters’ for the scene. This allowed us to explore the scene through new lenses and for us to be bolder with our ‘wants’. It definitely gave way for some extremely hilarious moments as well as brilliant new discoveries that we had never encountered before.

‘Filters’ allowed us to explore the scene through new lenses and for us to be bolder with our ‘wants’. It definitely gave way for some extremely hilarious moments as well as brilliant new discoveries that we had never encountered before.

After we had completed Scene 2, the full cast was in to run through the penultimate scene, where the same process of speed run and filters was used. Again, this made for some extremely funny discoveries that left us all in fits of laughter, as well as discovering new ways of being bold with our characters.

So, what night have you booked your tickets for? Grimm Tales Retold is a show you do not want to miss. I am so proud of the work that has already been created and rehearsals haven’t even finished yet. #QuakeGrimm

By | 2018-02-04T14:33:43+00:00 February 4th, 2018|Tags: , |0 Comments

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

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