Today was the first day of rehearsal for Lazarus’ OEDIPUS team. Two weeks since the workshop at the Greenwich Theatre and it was great to finally congregate with everyone in the performing space, The Blue Elephant. As well as exchanging names with the cast (again…memory like sieves) we also met with the rest of the creative team, Max (set design) and Rachel (lighting design). After these introductions, we were shown and told about all of the ideas regarding set, costume and lighting. Max brought a model of the set. It showed the battlements of Oedipus’ army dominating he stage, if a little small at the moment in model form. Seeing Max’s design was a great way to get an idea of the type of space and world we’ll be living and working in during the show. Alice, our costume designer, brought in gas masks, tin and ballistic helmets, camo, stab proof vests and greatcoats, all to make the war that we’ll be entering during the next few days more tangible. Rachel’s ideas on lighting were very exciting. The overarching theme is exploring the way in which we see naturally with the sun, in contrast with effect of artificial light and the abyss of blindness. This introduction to the design will really help us begin creating, in rehearsal, the world in which the play occurs.
After this session we all had a quick game of keepy ups! Managed to get to 34! Brill! I’m sure we can do better though. Whilst nice and warm (the keepy ups making sure our bums weren’t numb from the morning of sitting down) we commenced, full throttle, into a reading of the play. Already, thanks to all the images invoked by the creative team, environments and scenes began to take shape. A weight and grounding to the scenario of the play occurred, it’s themes and characters leaped from the page. As a result, the OEDIPUS world began to take shape. I can safely say it’s going to be really exciting to expand and explore this world as the rehearsal process progresses.
After the reading we talked in great detail about the meaning and the main themes of the play. Religion, faith, survival, sacrifice and suicide are just a few of the topics that were discussed. Questions like, ‘What are the implications of war?’ and ‘What do people do to make themselves feel better when they have nothing left?’, were shot around the room. It all got pretty darn deep! Which is definitely a good thing on the first day! So after all that intellectual chatting and tongue wagging we played a game where we all transformed into murderous blood-thirsty villains! Yeah! We ended up killing one another off whilst looking for a black spot. Confused? So were we! Charlotte, one half of our two Assistant Directors, was the victor! How she did it we’ll never know, but know this Charlotte…we’ll never trust you again!!!
So that concludes OEDIPUS’ first day of rehearsal. Tomorrow we’re getting sweaty with a morning of movement and then straight into text work. Get ready to feel the burn!