Before our first rehearsal they read the whole play twice reading each role and cast themselves according to which character resonated with them. Then we met and read the play making notes of any dialogue which needs researching in terms of backstory. From this we could work out where in America they grew up and lived now, where one went to university, what their relationships were like with each other and their parents, what was important to them and what they wanted. And then there are lines that need improvising to develop the backstory, eg “I haven’t seen you for 5 years” – what happened 5 years go to make these two brothers so estranged.
Then we gently set up “place” and began moving through the play. The emphasis was to listen to each other, be present with each other and find a need to say the words. The first run of the first scene was pure joy to witness, their work was awesome and for them it felt comfortable. I witnessed two brothers talking to each other, and it felt real. When the intention is for presence, there is no effort or what I call “bad acting”. The only scenes that were carefully planned and choreographed were the fight scenes, apart from that the actors were encouraged to move about the space as they wish, knowing that we would never want it to be the same every time. As I sat in the director role I intended to only point out when they were bull shitting or putting effort in to the work, and then why they were doing this needed discussing so they could deepen their understanding of what is going on for the character and trust that if they keep trying to affect the other character, they will do what is needed, this means listening to and being present with.
Rule number 1, rehearsals had to be fun and begin with a good warm up and lots of dancing.
Rule number 2, if it isn’t working stop and work out why.
Rule number 3, make every moment real.
To be continued...