Last week was our development week for our new play Trompe L’oeil by Cecile Durel. As I have previously written about, I (Steph) have been studying in Glasgow for the last year. On Monday, we announced that Very Racals is partnering with my MFA Acting/Directing group on our final project. Every Wednesday, we will have a guest blog from one of the group members. This week I am joined by Amber!
Steph: Hi Amber! Welcome.
Amber: *giggles awkwardly*
We have been studying on this course together for over a year and both of us are actors in this project but we are also the …. marketing directors! We thought we would bring you our top tips this week for how to be a collaborative presence in developing new writing.
Top Tip 1: Listen!
It can be stressful to be working on new writing as the writer is usually in the room. This is their baby! The first thing that usually happens is a read of the play. The best thing you can do at this stage is to listen and take on board any writer’s intentions. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions! This read is important for them and the writer needs you. Listen to your fellow actors and speak the words as they are written on the page. This brings us to…
Top Tip 2: Remember this is for the writer
Sometimes as actors we like to make things about ourselves. Developments are for the writer – this is a chance for them to hear their play out loud for the first time and see how it comes to life. They want to feel the rhythm of it and compare what they put on the page or heard in their head to what happens in the room. Bringing the text to life is the most important aspect of this day. Don’t think too much about your own performance! Follow your instincts but remember that this isn’t about you or your performance. Let the text do the work.
Top Tip 3: How to give feedback
Getting feedback on a new draft is a vulnerable process. This isn’t a polished piece of work. The development exists to serve the writer and therefore needs to be approached with kindness. One way to give feedback is to start with what you enjoyed about the piece, the positives. Moving on from there, you can start to ask questions. Approach these questions from a place of curiosity and not judgment. If you are asked for it, then give critical feedback. Always be kind and respectful and use those “I” statements. You might not be asked to give feedback or the director might ask some very specific questions so don’t answer questions you haven’t been asked.
Top Tip 4: Have fun!
This is a creative day! Huzzah! Bring the play to life.