Our Town by Thornton Wilder
We are overjoyed by the wonderful work the cast for Our Town have done already in advance of rehearsals. Each cast member was asked to focus on a research topic to share with each other. We have scheduled to listen to findings this week. This part of the process is crucial in understanding more about the world the play is set in. It helps us understand why some characters might think and behave the way that they do. Research isn't always about the sociological or political stance of the plays setting but include very much on how the people lived at that time. What food was eaten, how it was prepared, stored and cooked. What was worn at home and on special occasions. How the home would have been decorated. The etiquette people had at that time when communicating. It's quite the fascination to uncover little trinkets of information, like being a detective to history. A process that must be embraced. We can't wait to hear what has been discovered and how that knowledge impacts the casts character choices.
The cast have also been practising their accents. It is key to listen to as much of the accent in play, be it on the radio, television or from excerpts sourced online. (Please refer to last weeks blog which has a link to a great resource)
Listen carefully and then go for it, mimic what you hear, it doesn't matter if it isn't perfect at this point, what matters is that you are doing, that you are working hard to acquire the accent. Take your time.
We are lucky to have a fabulous accent coach as part of the team, Marcus D’Amico, who will ensure that the correct sounds are being made and tongue placements and vowel and consonants are working to aid the acquisition of the accent. It is an exciting part of the process with part of it involving watching and listening to films!
This week we have the company of the play's musical director, Roger Windmill, who will be warming up and utilising the casts voices! We know everyone will enjoy this. Voice use is freeing and surprising. It is amazing what our larynxs are capable of and the tones we are able to make. When voices blend together it gives of such an atmosphere that makes our gooseflesh appear!
Tickets are already on sale for Our Town! Book your tickets online NOW!
In The Press
It has been refreshing to read in The Guardian recently that the RSC summer productions for 2018 will all be directed by women. This is brilliant news. There are many out there who may argue that the best person for the job must be chosen regardless of gender and upon reading the article it seems that that is indeed the case here. Women in theatre has been the topic of many heated debates amongst actors and creatives in the theatre industry. I speak my own personal opinion here, I think women need more opportunities to showcase their comparable high skill in every aspect of theatre. From the older actor with a family, to the mature actresses who are often sidelined, to the talented directors and the gifted theatre technicians and playwrights. It is high time that the work of women got the chance to be seen and experienced. Not at the detriment to or exclusion of men I hasten to add. So much literature and plays have been lost and unheard because of the gender disparity in history and I'm glad to see that in this modern age there is significantly less of that.
In keeping with the them of women in theatre I want to draw your attention to an article in The Stage by Camilla Whitehall. It makes for grim reading because the clearly illustrated view is that women have to run the gauntlet to get anywhere as a playwright in London Theatres. The challenges that women face are simply not experienced by men. They are immune to the challenges and questions asked about the writing produced. Men aren't the ones who discuss the inequality simply because it isn't effecting them directly. We very much live in a society where most of us think only of our own bubbles and things that effect other people are no concern for us, well, only when those issues do effect us do we then realise the plight of others. This is shocking and disappointing. Especially the 3rd paragraph from the end where Camilla acknowledges her white middle class life and how if someone was of a different class or a different ethnicity that the route to gaining comparable success to men as a playwright is even harder still. We can only hope that again with time the imbalance in this wonderful industry is addressed appropriately. I'm sorely disappointed following reading this article that in the most liberating of industries women are very much still in shackles.
It is with great sadness that I mention the death of Sir Peter Hall, he was the founder of the institution that is the RSC and was also a very highly regarded director at The National Theatre. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time and are so grateful that during his life he shaped our theatre world so powerfully.