It’s the start of week four of rehearsals and a good time to be able to reflect on where we are, how the story and characters have developed from what I thought they might be to what’s currently on stage, and where they might still go. All three characters have moments of being pretty cruel to each other and one thing that has felt important is understanding what motivates each character; how their lives lived close together inside one house but separated by social rules influence each other. It has been great to have time to comb back through the text discovering new moments as we go.
It’s an exciting point in the design process too with the set taking shape in workshop, costume fittings happening, props appearing, and music being recorded. For set designer Jen and I it always felt important that the kitchen should feel both practical and tactile. We’ve been able to work with the actors to get to know the kitchen space and how it would function in their day to day lives, making it as real a space as possible for ourselves. This has also made it feel a fun and productive space to work in as we come back to scenes and adjust them, because the kitchen is a great playground for the actors to explore and use to their advantage. Previous bits of research are re-emerging as we start to make final decisions as well. For example: since Julie’s father is a mill owner, I was keen to get a bit of Paisley print into the set as a small nod to some of the complex history of the Scottish textile mills and their links to places like India.
At this stage it’s also great to be able to get some outside eyes in the room to see runs of the play or even scenes. After living with the play for several weeks, it’s useful to be able to invite someone else in to take a look at it and give some feedback!