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An AI SAVVY Experience

Hi, my name is Rami, and I’m a member of the Adult Company here at SAVVY Theatre. I offered to write a blog about my experience putting together our most recent production of A Christmas Carol, which we performed at Fairfield Halls in December. But I don’t want to write something bland or boring, some blog that everyone feels they’ve read before, I want to try something new, something original. We here at SAVVY often refer to how unique and special our particular way of doing theatre is, but what does that really mean? Well, my way of showing you was to ask an Artificial Intelligence ChatBot to produce the most generic blog about a community theatre experience that it could. And I’m going to copy it here, but section by section, I’m going to go through all the ways I can think of that SAVVY is different. Let’s see how it looks.

AI: Participating in a production with a community theatre company has been a truly rewarding experience for me. The process of putting on a show with a group of dedicated and passionate individuals has been an unforgettable journey.

The journey began three months ago, when auditions were held for the show. I was nervous but excited to audition, and I was thrilled when I was cast in a leading role. From that moment on, the hard work began.

Rami: Where to start. The first paragraph isn’t too bad, it has indeed been a truly rewarding experience, and a very big part of that has been working with all the fantastic people around me. But the big difference to point out is that I wasn’t just working with one group, in fact our production brought together a whopping seven groups made up of small children, youth, adults, people with disabilities and people who have experienced homelessness, with a total cast nearing 100 people! In my role as Jacob Marley, I got to spend time with each group working through their scenes, learning so much about inclusive theatre and generally having a fabulous time.

Now the second paragraph is entirely wrong, but probably not why you may think. SAVVY Theatre Company defines itself as an inclusive community theatre company and as such, we do not hold auditions for roles. Nor do we necessarily start our seasons by assigning roles, rather groups often get a couple of sessions to play around with drama workshops and early script drafts before decisions are taken to assign roles that suit the members best. And most importantly: there’s no such thing as a leading role with SAVVY. However large or small a part may initially look on paper, every single person ends up playing a big role in rehearsals and on stage. Let’s carry on.

AI: Rehearsals were intense and demanding, but they were also a lot of fun. Being part of a team and working towards a common goal was an incredibly rewarding experience. As the production date approached, the rehearsals became more and more intense. We were all feeling the pressure to get everything just right, and it was a challenging but exciting time.

Rami: I suppose it’s not wrong, rehearsal can sometimes be intense and demanding. But mostly they’re so, so, so much fun! Our directors Sheree, Alice and Lewis are all superbly creative minds, but the process of putting together a show is actually very collaborative and inclusive. From laughing our heads off at some mishap in a scene to finding some new, better way of approaching a part of the play often quite by accident, rehearsals give us so many reasons to smile, enjoy ourselves and relax. And at SAVVY we don’t believe that theatre is about ‘getting everything just right’, in fact much of the magic of theatre-making is in the uncontrollable, the parts where you just have to go for it and not worry about getting things wrong. Better to do something 100% wrong but with confidence and heart than to do something ‘perfectly’ with no feeling, no energy. That’s what we’re all taught at SAVVY. Last bit now.

AI: Finally, the day of the show arrived. We were all nervous but excited to perform for a live audience. The show went off without a hitch, and it was an incredible feeling to see all of our hard work pay off.

Looking back on the process, I am filled with pride and gratitude. It was a challenging but rewarding experience, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. I have made new friends and learned new skills, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something truly special. I can't wait to do it all again someday.

Rami: The show absolutely did not go off without a hitch! We only all came together the day of the show, most groups were only familiar with their chunk of the play and the dress run was bumpy to say the least. During the actual performance, I banged my head on the set and almost made myself and another cast member fall over on stage, all in full view of the audience. But that’s not the point. The audience loved the show because they saw people putting their full hearts into a performance, we as actors loved it because we supported each other on and off stage with our various needs and we put on a fantastic performance because of that.

Now as for the very last paragraph: nothing at all to amend there. Being part of this latest SAVVY show was an absolute pleasure and a privilege. Every year at SAVVY brings new treasured memories, so here’s to many more in 2023!

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