Grimm Tales Retold – Inside Rehearsal Week 4

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 here, week three here, and book tickets for the show online here.

Jordan Farrag
Monday 29th January, 9am – 1pm

Hi! Jordan here again…

Time felt like it was quickly speeding up as we moved into the penultimate week of the process. Bright and early on Monday morning the dream team (aka Team Gingerbread) were straight into George Cadbury Hall ready to go, fuelled by the breakfast of champions: copious amounts of coffee and what I like to call on-the-go toast (several slices of course).

Gareth doesn’t want us to fix blocking for the scene so that we can move around the stage instinctively. This decision really allowed our performances to have a lot more freedom and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next week because it could be different each night!

We started off the rehearsal with the usual ‘Bananas Of The World, Unite!’ to get the blood pumping and then went onto a couple of rounds of Tag to continue the wake-up cycle. This rehearsal was our last opportunity to refine our work on the Hansel and Gretel scene. We ensured that we all maintained our ‘wants’, remembering the work we did with ‘filters’ to help emphasise key moments and relationships. Gareth doesn’t want us to fix blocking for the scene so that we can move around the stage instinctively. This decision really allowed our performances to have a lot more freedom and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next week because it could be different each night!

I can’t wait to show audiences what we have created because I think the whole cast and team have been inspired by the project and are really looking forward to performing!

Bethany Hartland
Monday 29th January, 2pm – 6pm

Hi! It’s Beth…

Our final Monday afternoon before Production Week! When the session starts with “this will be the last time you will look at this scene in detail”, the rehearsal session ahead of us started to feel a bit daunting! But when we began going through the final scenes in the theatre space, Little Red Riding Hood and Rumpelstiltskin, I realised that as a cast we really were nearly at the point of a completed and ready show. We used the rehearsal to home in on our characters’ ‘wants’ at every moment and every line, making sure everything we did was done with a purpose and was as bold as it could be.

We have started to learn that if we courageously follow our ‘wants’ and listen to the offers that our scene partners give us, then, although the scene might not necessarily be exactly the same every single night, there will always be clarity and excitement in the telling of the story. In addition to this, we went over the logistical side of the scenes, so that we were not worried about those specific elements because if we are, it has a tendency to influence how boldly and clearly we pursue the ‘wants’ of our characters.

We have started to learn that if we courageously follow our ‘wants’ and listen to the offers that our scene partners give us, then, although the scene might not necessarily be exactly the same every single night, there will always be clarity and excitement in the telling of the story.

We have come such a long way in the past four weeks and everyone involved has put in so much work to make this production the best it can be. I hope everyone who comes to see it loves it as much as we have loved working on it and bringing it to life.

#QuakeGrimm

Scott Wilson
Tuesday 30th January, 9am – 1pm

Such a fantastic rehearsal today! Starting with a full cast discussion about vocal projection and the correct way to support our voices to avoid damaging them throughout the run of the show. We focused on engaging our diaphragm to support our voice by pushing hard against a wall while releasing an ‘Aah’ sound. This really helped me develop my understanding of my technique whilst performing and as I can be quite loud during the show, and life in general, looking at the correct way to project without straining has been really beneficial for me.

The rest of the rehearsal was dedicated to focusing on the scenes between the Grimm Brothers and personally this was one of my favourite rehearsals of the whole process. Having done a full run of the show a couple of times already has allowed me and George to discover the broad spectrum of approaches to our characters and the various routes our scenes could take. I really enjoy the fact that each time we play the scenes, it is never the same, and this whole process has really opened my eyes to the liveness of performance, and I really love being able to experiment and explore the play together with my scene partners.

I really enjoy the fact that each time we play the scenes, it is never the same, and this whole process has really opened my eyes to the liveness of performance, and I really love being able to experiment and explore the play together with my scene partners.

However, hearing the immortal words of Gareth to “Be Bold” really brought something great out of me and George and we both found ourselves responding to the offers we made to each other. This resulted in the scenes all becoming so much fun to be in, as an actor, as we were focusing on each other and building on what we offered one another. For me, that’s what acting is all about.

Everyone is really starting to come into their own and it has been amazing watching this already fantastic play become something truly magical and I cannot explain how glad I am that I’ve been able to be part of this amazing production.

#QuakeGrimm #TeamJake

William Melhuish
Wednesday 31st January, 9am – 1pm

‘The Calm before the Storm’

This week was the first week where the entirety of our rehearsals were based in George Cadbury Hall. Being in this space has certainly brought its challenges to us all as actors. Many of us have had little experience performing in a theatre such as this one with a large set such as ours. Therefore, it is safe to say that this week has been the hardest by far.

As the countdown for production day closes in, removing uncertainties about our characters’ desires become more of a priority.

Being in this larger space poses a huge challenge as an actor – VOICE!!! Time after time during rehearsals I have found my voice fall into a theatrical vacuum which has made my lines inaudible even for the first row. Therefore, by Wednesday’s full run-through, I knew that I had to prove myself in the space.

Alas, things went very differently! Being in this space has meant that facial and vocal expression needs to be heightened, and that’s exactly not what happened on Wednesday. It is frustrating as an actor when such a great script and its story cannot be told clearly because of our own faults on stage. Gareth’s development of us as actors almost goes to waste when we cannot reflect that to the audience because of volume issues and vague ‘wants’ on stage. All we need to do is trust ourselves as performers and make sure that we are offering each other and the audience a clear vision of character wants instead of playing the emotion. As the countdown for production day closes in, removing uncertainties about our characters’ desires become more of a priority.

Georgiana Poteiciuc
Thursday 1st February, 1pm – 5pm

It’s Thursday and we’re back in the rehearsal room after the run-through in the theatre on Wednesday. Today has been the most intense rehearsal since the beginning. It was all about pushing our limits and overcoming any obstacles that were keeping us from fully engaging with our characters’ ‘wants’. For this session we focused on Act One and the results were amazing. I felt more focused then ever and the connection between us felt a lot clearer. It was like we were really helping each other because our energies were combining together, pushing us to be bolder and bolder with each line. I feel a lot more confident after this rehearsal as my character’s actions seem natural and well defined now and the scene as a whole makes perfect sense. We all discovered parts of ourselves that we may have not known we had and it is amazing to actually feel that you are 100% involved, committed and really doing your best.

Today has been the most intense rehearsal since the beginning. It was all about pushing our limits and overcoming any obstacles that were keeping us from fully engaging with our characters’ ‘wants’.

This session showed us that if we find the courage to be bold enough, nothing will stand in the way of us giving our best performance.

Katie Webster
Thursday 1st February, 6pm – 10pm

Never again will I be able to hear the words ‘be bold’ and not think of today’s rehearsal. We continued this evening to work on running scenes without logistics or props but instead really focusing on the acting, our characters’ ‘wants’, and being BOLD.

We began with Little Red Riding Hood in this session. There is such a varying dynamic between my character, Melinda, and Louie, played by Will, so establishing a playful and BOLD relationship has sometimes been tricky. However, today, after quite a bit of stopping to really discuss what we wanted, something has clicked. It’s incredible how now the scene feels completely new, even in Week 4 – it feels like anything could happen and that’s amazing to work with as an actor. It’s really interesting how the concepts of wants, offers and being BOLD often lend themselves to the more comedic scenes, in my mind anyway. However (no spoilers, but this isn’t a funny scene), this dramatic and complex relationship between Melinda and Louie flourished when we had space to play. I’m really excited and just as hopeful that when it comes to performing in front of an audience, all the work we did today comes across.

It’s incredible how now the scene feels completely new, even in Week 4 – it feels like anything could happen and that’s amazing to work with as an actor.

Finally, we moved to the final scene. The joy Gareth has when calling us Twats in such a casual manner is something I know I’ll miss in the weeks after the show. Again, we were BOLD in our twattiness, and poor ol’ Valentina gets herself into a right pickle. This scene is incredibly fun. It’s an excellent example of how we, as actors and a company, can work together to make it fun and different every time. I feel we all have the tools and the confidence to go out on opening night and try something new to see what happens. It’s exciting. A tad scary, but mostly completely and utterly exciting.

I can’t believe we open soon. Please come and see this incredible show! You’ll definitely be missing out on some top-quality twattiness if you do.

#QuakeGrimm

By | 2018-02-07T13:35:45+00:00 February 7th, 2018|Tags: , |2 Comments

About the Author:

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

2 Comments

  1. James February 8, 2018 at 9:35 am - Reply

    What a positive group of people! It’s heartwarming to read.

    • Gareth
      Gareth February 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks James! We’ve been having a lot of fun.

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