A couple of months ago we had the immense good fortune to meet Mel Drake, who came and did a workshop for some of the Tightlacers. It went extremely well – you can read about it here – and I was thrilled when she expressed an interest in working with the actors for our double bill.
Today we were workshopping Fiona McDonald’s brilliant new play, I Promise I Shall Not Play Billiards. It features a cast of four generous, talented women, all playing aspects of Madeleine Smith, the Scottish society belle who was tried for the murder of her lover in 1857 and received our unique verdict of Not Proven. Since all four women are the same woman (and yet very different women), it seemed like a good fit for the work Mel does. She teaches the Nadine George technique, which explores the qualities of the actor’s voice and its connection with the body.
It’s also a a really good fit for Affectable, because both our acting technique and Nadine George’s voice work are about the voyage of discovery. They’re about relinquishing control, so that instead of constructing your performance through a series of planned, conscious choices, you create conditions under which exciting things can happen. Lines come out in ways you never would have planned, sparking reactions you could never decide upon but can only have spontaneously. That’s when truly amazing theatre happens.
Now I’m all fired up by the possibilities that emerged at today’s workshop. The mottoes the actors chose for their characters, the group dynamic, the physicality that only comes out when you’re not thinking about it, the range of sounds that don’t get used in daily speech… So much beautiful stuff!
An excellent day’s work from all concerned. Now have some pictures of three of these ladies experimenting with colours, textures, fabrics and music: