At the moment, I am gleefully involved in three separate rehearsals for three separate theatre plays of mine. It’s a very happy situation for me because I love rehearsals.
I love them for lots of reasons, really, but here’s just one.
When I'm writing a play, I’m always subconsciously, and sometimes consciously, acting them out. If there’s a fight, I’m fighting with myself. If there’s a love scene, the door is closed and there’s no entry. Every line - no, sod that - every word gets interrogated to see how it might play. Will it sound right? Will it hold the whole thing up unnecessarily? Will it fit in? It’s an intricate business.
Then, suddenly, there are actors.
It’s the gift of all gifts. The best thing in the world. There are real live people here who are willing to take on your lines and say them and breathe life and vigour into them.
They say the lines and they bring them to life, as promised. It’s absolutely brilliant.
But this is not the thing I love that I want to tell you about.
Here’s the thing:
They say the lines wrong.
This is the beauty, the marvellous thing I love. Their voices, saying my lines, are so often completely different to the ways I said them to myself in my head, back there in front of my computer screen.
At first, this is pretty scary.
“Wait a minute,” my brain, the original actor, mutters, “this isn’t right, that’s not how it’s meant to be said.” Then gradually, the magical realisation kicks in. It’s not as I did it. It’s better. The actors are bringing their own essence to the words and it’s almost invariably better.
Often it benefits from a little interaction. I’ve often got some low level stuff going on that might not be self-evident from the bare words. In rehearsal, I get to elaborate a little on that, if elaboration is called for. But, generally, the addition of a new voice, one with intelligence and some emotional experience, will bring sap and stickiness to the bare words and the truth will gradually seep out.
There are lots and lots and lots of reasons why I love rehearsals.
This has been just one.
Midnight in the Theatre of Blood and Fine will be performed by the Castlebar Acting for Fun Company in the Linenhall Theatre, Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland on 21st and 22nd of March. You can Book Tickets on 094 90 23733.
The third play remains embargoed for the moment but it is brand new, deep in rehearsals, and will appear in the next few weeks, all going well.