Phil Gyford’s website

More rehearsals

Three more hours of rehearsals for our The Collection scene. Rather than continually running through the entire scene we focused on a little bit at a time, going over and over it, trying out different moves and moods and statuses. We also introduced some props this time, which makes a big difference. It now feels more like people in a real room, rather than a glorified reciting of lines. I think we made good progress, although it’s hard to tell what will work for the audience from where we are. Spending around five hours or so a week rehearsing on our own and then spending only 15-20 minutes with the “director” (our teacher) seems a little off balance.

Although I’m still fluffing up my lines occasionally, large chunks are now coming almost too easily. I find I’ve said a few lines without even thinking about them. I’m not only not “in the moment” but I’m barely in the room, my mind drifting off. Not good. It seems that if I don’t have to think about the lines in order to say them then I also stop listening to what the other person’s saying, so I can’t react and, no doubt, can’t deliver my lines in any convincing way.

I’ve done a bit of work on my character, James, reading the play again, piecing together the few fragments given away by what’s said. He’s in his thirties, lives with his wife of two years and a Persian cat in a Chelsea flat, they run a small clothes shop together, she designs dresses and listens to Charlie Parker. But there’s not much about his personality — working out who any of the characters really are seems impossible from the play. It feels wrong to simply make up the history of a character, but I guess that’s what you have to do. I always wonder why playwrights don’t include biographies and descriptions of their characters, seeing as they’ve put so much work into the precise words they speak.

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Sunday 7 May 2006, 1:33pm

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On this day I was reading