Digging into the drama

rehearsal room.jpgThe energy in the R&D room was different this week. On Friday evening at the end of a run through, the dramaturge and director encouraged me to tap into my rage over the weekend and write a new prologue and penultimate scene.

When I went home as always I looked at the notes I had scribbled, I realised I had not asked a question.

I emailed and said do you mean for me to tap into 2018 rage now? Instead of leaving off in 2014? Yes they said, write it from the rage of cyborg Sophie today. I said that will be dangerous. They said it will feel dangerous and frightening but we encourage you to go there and we will be there for you.

For me this directive meant there was some major “transference” going on by Monday and as I followed through with the very real rage, the demands I began to make of the R&D, risked derailing the show. It would make a lot of the process and some of the already created elements untenable as they stood.  It would bring me into conflict with the creatives who were trying to realise my story.

I kept going with it. For me it was not a game. I had suddenly realised that the road to triumph with this piece meant I had to argue for things that would ultimately mean a breakdown of a collaboration and a crisis for the director to say the least.

They wanted to park the new discoveries I had made until after the R&D, partly because we were quite far in with our previous path, but this made me more angry because of being so angry. So instead of playing the long game and feeling hope that I could subvert things through collaboration, my weekend anger had driven me to despair and if I did not make my new idea happen now, I knew the despair and anger would spiral, it would mean I had lost control of my own story. And the whole point of this piece is for me to take ownership of my story.

Fortunately as well as being a now furious performer, I am also the writer, and after a day of a kind of tug of war in which the team tried to protect my play from the apparent wrecking ball of my rage I went home to continue being angry. In the morning, I was still angry, even after breakfast and coffee. I began banging my cup down on the table and talking.

Then I began to write.

What you will see on Thursday to Saturday is not me banging a cup down. But you will see the beginnings of what has grown out of the team pushing me to tap into my rage.

It has always been a funny play but after seeing am early sharing video I was struck by how it was too funny. I had not written in my anger. Even when I think I have been totally furious in a scene I can see it is not angry.

So if I have learned one thing in this process it is that if you think you are being angry – chances are you are holding back a lot still.

Sometimes if you want to achieve something good it must come from sticking to your guns and debating and disagreeing with each other.

The day after the rage I was still angry, but it was a day of laughter and play.

Today I am excited.

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