Welcome to an insight into the THREE BIRDS rehearsal process!
Captured in quick breaks from rehearsals, these are rough and ready glimpses from the points of view of the writer, director, actor and production manager into bringing the script that won the 2011 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting from page to stage.
Here’s some words from writer Janice Okoh to kick us off, followed by a conversation between Janice and Director Sarah Frankcom about beginnings and the relationship between a writer and director…
[THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS]
When I sent Three Birds in to the competition, I was on my third draft. Although I was happy with it, I felt that it was still far from whole. What’s attractive about the Bruntwood Prize competition is the fact that it offers a year developing the winning plays so it was really exciting when I actually won one of the prizes.
I met Suzanne Bell, my dramaturg, and Sarah Frankcom, the director several times over the year and each time we discussed how we should go about improving the play. We decided that I needed to write an additional scene in order to develop one of my characters, work out a suitable time frame of the play and bring some of the drama that happened off stage on. Suzanne and Sarah also encouraged me to experiment and “go bonkers” with the play so a lot of my drafting involved taking things out in one draft only to find that I would put them back in in a later draft or conversely binning stuff that took the play in a completely different direction.
I really enjoyed the process. Sarah and Suzanne were able to climb right inside my head and voice the thoughts that I would be thinking. It really felt like they got the play. However, it was still really hard work trying to make sure everything fitted together in order to create something I was happy with and, ultimately, proud of. But it’s been wonderful having a dramaturg and director working hard at making the process work for me. They organised a reading when I wanted one, moved deadlines to accommodate my other writing commitments, and, most importantly, reassured me when I voiced my fears at the thought of Three Birds going into production before it was ready. But The thing is, and I guess a lot of writers would concur, I don’t think my play will ever be ready and, as I prepare to send Three Birds to the publishers, I’m tweaking and adjusting, always trying to make it just that bit better but there has to be a cut-off point which is probably when the actors need to start learning their lines. Janice Okoh
[oh_drawer title=”SEEING THE SCRIPT FOR THE FIRST TIME” id=”seeing-the-script-for-the-first-time”]
We caught up with Susan Wokoma, actress (playing Tanika), for a brief chat about getting hold of a new script and how she approaches it…
[oh_drawer title=”MAKING IDEAS HAPPEN” id=”making-ideas-happen”]
We chat to Keith Broom, Production Manager, about the nuts and bolts behind bringing a show to The Studio at the Royal Exchange Theatre.