We got today started with a super-sweaty-mega-warm-up-session (tecnical term). A bit of stretching, a few games and a lot of rhythmic walking left the whole company knackered, but as a much tighter ensemble. After a well-earned lunch it was time to crack on with the text. Although the real meatiness of it is yet to come, it’s nice to have started nibbling at the edges.
They said we’d get sweaty today and that’s definitely what ended up happening! Our morning of movement easily blew away the cobwebs! We started with some stretches to get the blood pumping and then straight into Zeus Squats, those famous godly crouches that make your muscles burn and you bones bend! From there we progressed onto more movement based work. As an ensemble we worked to fill The Blue Elephant Theatre as a liquid fills a container, constantly adapting and moving but always finding an equilibrium. This was an exercise to help the group reach a sense of ensemble, to find the heartbeat that is at the centre of our production. As this exercise progressed, actions were introduced e.g. clapping in time with the heartbeat as well as creating sounds and gestures. These actions tested the group, introducing scenarios that may, and did, put strain on the company’s beat in an attempt to make it stronger and more resilient. We then played a game that focussed on copying, in minute detail, the movements of a leader. Robin was the group’s leader to begin with and everything he did we attempted to recreate. Our next leader was Ricky. He led us all on a journey that culminated on a battlefield, we raided an enemy stronghold and saved a comrade which, ultimately, was just a broom (who knew?!). This exercise demonstrated, in a number of ways, the power of belief and trust.
After our movement warm-up and copycat exercises, Ricky split the cast into four groups. Each were tasked with creating a piece of traveling movement inspired by a picture (from our OEDIPUS picture board) that embodied important aspects of the play for our group. We were also tasked with using an object in an unconventional way in the exercise. The groups ended up creating very symbolic, emotive and watchable scenarios; a scarf became the blood vessels of a conflicted soldier and the barbed wire that ensnares it’s victim, a roll of gaffa tape (yep, gaffa tape) became a child being transported to safety as well as becoming the mantle of a leader, a tin helmet became a deadly weapon causing treachery and jealously among friends. All from our interpretation of a picture and a play.
After lunch we began in-depth work on text. The process was similar to how we approached the text during the workshop in Greenwich. Today we focussed on the very first section of the play. Instead of sitting down to explore the text we got it up on its feet and put actions to words. Seeing the world of the play take shape around us was great to watch and be involved in. Characters began to grow from the bare bones of the text, as well as the relationships and the society the play revolves around. Today was a great day of exploration into a world, it’s people, it’s triumphs and it’s deadly secrets…and there’s lots more of those to come.