Inside the rehearsal process……
As a student theatre maker, coming to witness the rehearsal process of a professional theatre company such as Tmesis, was a wish come true. Tmesis explores human nature and behaviour and looks deep inside our minds to explore the inner fears we might be facing.
Their new project R+D started with the themes of; death, grief and digital resurrection. Around which, a group of talented and intelligent actors improvised and wrote beautiful and funny stories with the use of their bodies. At the very beginning, the director Elinor Randle shared with her actors what was on her mind. Throughout the process, she has had on-going conversations with them and always takes into account their points of view and ideas, making it a fair and collaborative process. I love the way in which Eli creates a safe environment and encourages her actors to play in the space like children. The actors improvise around various scenarios that both the playwright and the director provide them with. Using these as starting points, they have been able to develop hours of material. Watching them create in such an atmosphere was, to me, like binging on the new season of your favourite series. You simply want more and more.
This completely changed my thoughts on collaborative theatre making. When I entered the rehearsal room there was a complete different energy than in any other rehearsal space I have ever been in; they all work as one organism. One could tell that each and every person in that room is involved with the piece that they are creating, and for this reason their work is bubbling over with the excitement and physicality that only theatre allows.
Lately, I have been reading a lot of articles about the place that devised drama took in British theatre. All of them are making a point that devising is going against the tradition of class-obsessed British theatre, and anything that is a bit different feels quite threatening to that tradition. However, after watching the work process of Tmesis I feel like the work they are creating juxtaposes those archaic ways and is a little bit more human than what is often being seen on the stage.
I would like to thank Tmesis for allowing me to sit in and watch their process so that I could absorb all the knowledge and learn from the director, playwright and the actors. It was a truly inspiring experience that made me reflect on my own process as a starting out theatre director.
Martyna Puciato- LJMU Drama Student, Jan 2017.