Sappho Rehearsal at The Rose – Day 1

Victoria and I rehearsed in The Rose for the first time yesterday afternoon, and it was wonderful how everything came together so quickly. In this space we have audience seating on three sides (as opposed to the usual two sides) so we spent a bit of time considering how to adjust the staging so that third side doesn’t feel left out. Our solutions were quite simple: using a different part of the rope, facing a different direction, taking another route. We managed to get through two and a half fragments. It’s funny how much your body remembers: one time when I questioned some of the blocking, Victoria insisted ‘I was there. I was, because I pulled myself up by this rope.’ And she was right. It’s all sense memory, and that remains even after some of the lines may have been forgotten.

This may be a taboo for a director, but sometimes I’m better at blocking a scene when I put myself in the structure and allow myself to find the movements from one state to the next. And sometimes Victoria, as the actor, needs to step outside and just look at the space and make suggestions from there. It may be a little unorthodox, but it seems to work for us.

Before arriving at the theatre yesterday, I wrote down some thoughts about the play and how we might understand the characters in this new space, as well as a short to-do list of things to work on and adapt:

Atthis recognises the history in this room. Not just her playing this role, but many other girls before her.

Sappho equates herself with Shakespeare and Marlowe as an inventor of words and space. She is at home here.

Beyond the stage, what is there? Is it accessible? It is part of this world? Does it represent something else entirely? Is that ‘them’ and this is ‘us’? Division between men and women, different parts of history, different cultures. Background echoes the women’s stories, as if to say ‘I’m listening’. We are men listening to and appreciating your stories. We are not alone in this room. 

  • transitions from Sappho –> Atthis (2&4)
  • restaurant entrance
  • Atthis interactions with theatre space
  • cuts from fragments 2
  • hammock

We’re back at the theatre again this afternoon, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to sort out the staging for the remaining fragments. And then we’ll have only 10 days until opening night!

** Special thanks to Pepe Pryke for helping me set up the scaffolding structure and adjusting everything a gazillion time. We did it! **

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