As a poet who is used to standing behind a mic, manipulating my voice and being a little physically animated, I took the plunge to write a full length one woman show. The difference between the focus needed for a 10-20 minute set at a spoken word night and an hour and ten minute theatre piece are two completely different things. The transition was an intense process. The energy to fill a theatre stage or blackbox studio space is not the same AT ALL as maintaining attention in busy bar. I discovered that mental and physical stamina is a major issue. Also having an outside eye is crucial because as a poet, I can write and poetise for days but where is the story going? Are the characters clear? Does the narrative make sense? I needed a director. But matching a director to a performing poet was not going to be easy. I met and workshopped with 4!
I’d spoken to a few of my peer poets friends and they informed that they too had found the process difficult. Poets can be internal people, conjuring worlds in their heads that they translate into the word. Dancers will dance. Painters paint and sculptors sculpt. But how do poets who want to turn their imaginary worlds into extended performance pieces communicate them to a director? And how does a director receive and translate that information in rehearsal to the full performance? With further investigation I worked out that a bridge of communication of ideas needed to be worked out. There’s a dynamic 3 Way relationship between the writer, the performer and the director that can become a tangle of objectives if the lines of communication are not established early in on in the rehearsal period.
Back in 2007, theatre director Anthony Shrubsall and I were brought together by sheer fate – a friend of a friend of a friend…. I had been looking for a director for my debut one woman show, “Security”, for 6 months and had developed it with the help of producer, Talita Moffatt and director Mike Kirchner to a level that was great, but I felt the journey for the show was not quite unfinished. I knew that the decision to have a stage set (endorsed by me) was obscuring some valuable exploration of myself as a performer and stunting the growth of the rich characters in the script. The show was written in monologue, spoken word, song and movement and set in a cafe. With tables and chairs to manoeuvre around, the flow of the action on stage felt stilted and my line delivery was good but inside, felt stuttered. I needed a fresh approach.
The first thing that I appreciated about working with Anthony was his capacity to really listen to the writer part of me – she (the writer) had a lot to say about themes within the show, which Continue reading