I don’t remember what I expected when I applied for this MA course, but having less than 24 hours to plan and deliver a rehearsal on a post-modern text I barely understand for an hour and forty-five minutes, was probably not one of my three guesses. This is a self-submitted never have I ever, which wasn’t really part of the plan, and was quite a last-minute (three cheers for embracing spontaneity!) idea so it couldn’t be filmed, as per the rules. But perhaps if I’ve learned anything from Advanced Theatre Practice it’s that rules were made to be broken…
Despite feeling like the least qualified to be taking the directing unit in the room, planning was fine: textual analysis with a coffee and biscuits in the comfort of my own home, wistfully wishing I was just doing T. S. Eliot’s The Wasteland again at A level instead. Choosing games I know how to play and adding minutes up to make 105.
Things I already know I can do then.
What a huge relief to be directing text alone for the first time with people you already know, have worked with before, and actually like. And we’ve finally finished flogging the dead horse that was the Performing Research unit, and it’s only week one, so they’re still quite happy to give up their Saturday to solve the riddles of ‘Attempts On Her Life’. And approaching the play is like problem solving really, and who doesn’t love problem solving? And for all my fear and resistance and complaints for being thrown into the murkiest deep end, metaphorical bags of stones tied to my hands and feet (look out Martin Crimp I know what you’re all about), I only did the same to my actors, assuming everyone was as into doing improvisation and live translation as I was into watching them. Cheers guys.
A first sampling of being thrown out of the comfort zone then. It’s neither the fatal night terror I imagined but neither does the after-taste give me much to write home about. In total honesty I start to question why we’re choosing to force ourselves to take risks, explore the unknown, and leap out of our comfort zone for our SIP, over honing our existing skills and doing things we are comfortable doing and love, and becoming really, really good at those things. Despite getting lovely submissions like ‘wear animal face paint all day’ and ‘do an act of kindness for an elderly stranger’ I wonder about our emotional safety and physical well-being if we do end up doing all of the suggestions submitted, back to back.
Or perhaps I’m just taking comfort in the familiarity of my natural ability to worry senseless, and actually embracing new experiences is the only real way to live and actually feel alive.
This cat’s face speaks volumes about my first impressions of the play.