A Simple Idea to Start With …
I’ll be honest, when I first read the synopsis of the play I was not particularly interested in doing it. A group of teenagers with cancer – no thanks. But to the eternal wisdom of my amazing Young Company, I read the full script – and what I discovered was a story rich with imagery and imagination. It’s NOT about kids with cancer … it’s about CHOICE and FRIENDSHIP and DREAMS and LOVE. It was very VISUAL to me – and so the idea of combining our play with film seemed perfect.
I approached Richard Wilson who runs the Citizens Media Group at the Sutton Life Centre and asked him if his group of teenagers would be interested in creating the various films needed to support our production. He seemed keen and we discussed the logistics – or should I say, he explained to me how my ideas of interactive cinema needed a bit more consideration as the logistics of projecting on various screens to create a 360 cinema effect were more complicated than I first thought (to be honest – I STILL don’t fully understand it).
As for the Citizens Media Group themselves – well what an AMAZING bunch of young people they are. On my first meeting with them they’d already absorbed the script (not read – literally absorbed) and were buzzing with ideas and questions.
Now to get my Young Company ready … before Christmas I’d sent them off with their parts and told them to have the 14 pages of Scene 1 learned by the time we got back in January. (It was a bit of a test and so how surprised and humbled was I when on Day 1 they really DID have them learned!)
Now for the physicalities! As we’ll have no set and minimal props and will be working in the round in what is essentially a large empty space (with the audience seated in the middle), I wanted to mirror the visual displays with a physical language. I’ve always been fan of Frantic Assembly since attending a movement workshop many years ago. So after buying their book, I set to work training my Young Company. As the script already stipulated music be involved it was a natural progression and the group really took to the work, not just punching the air and exploring the space, but quite literally LIFTING each other into the air.
We are a month away from the shows and over the next couple of weeks the various elements – live action, scripted scenes, movement, music and cinema will start to come together through shared rehearsals.
I’ve already had a sneak peak at some of the films created and what seemed like a good idea to start with – performing our upcoming production of Hospital Food for the National Theatre’s Connections Festival in the 360 Cinema Room at the Sutton Life Centre – has (if I’m being honest) the potential to go beyond good. This show is going to be something EXCEPTIONAL!
Performance: 13th & 14th March 2015
Venue: Sutton Life Centre, 24 Alcorn Close, Sutton, Surrey, SM3 9PX
Time: 6.30pm (with a Saturday matinee at 3.30pm)
Tickets: £5.00 (advance booking only) via: http://hospitalfood.eventbrite.co.uk