infinite jest

Infinite Jest Blog

Rehearsing The Tales at Westminster Boys School

Posted : September 13, 2016

Day 1 - 6th September

Today was my first day of directing at Westminster Boys School. Mr Charlie Hill, the head of drama, is taking on the challenge of directing the Seal Wife, a wonderfully poetic new play by Brendan Murray, and I'm directing four short stories from Carol Ann Duffy's Beasts and Beauties and Dominic Cook's Arabian Nights. We started by playing some team building exercises. I can't say I enjoyed being lead around the room blindfolded but Charlie wanted to emphasise the importance of trust when putting on a production. I then did some character work, approaching character through physicality. There were some hilariously funny walks, voices and accents being explored. As homework, I've asked the boys to think about where their characters may lead from (ie the knees, the chest or perhaps, in the case of our Emperor, the belly!)

We then split into groups and did a read-through. I was blown away by the commitment from the boys and impressed that some of them had learnt all of their lines and started thinking about their characters. This bodes very well for Thursday's rehearsal when we start getting this play on its feet. 

Day 2 - 8th September

Well that was a jam packed hour and a half! This evening we were rehearsing the Abu Hassan story. We kicked off with some Arabian dance and the boys came up with some great moves that I incorporated into the choreography. Then we improvised an Arabian market scene. If you come to the show, keep your eyes peeled for a snake charmer, a curry maker and a scarf seller. The crux of the piece centres around Abu doing an enormous fart and the boys certainly had lots of fun ideas and enthusiasm about how to stage this moment. I think we're going to keep it simple, with someone on sound effects providing the noise and, no, there won't be a smell to accompany the sound! We'll be rehearsing the second half of the story in a couple of weeks time.

James from Year Seven has come on board as my Stage Manager and is already a great help and a calming presence. Next up, The Emperor's New, how on earth are we going to stage the famous naked scene?! 

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