Feature | Bringing Characters Come to Life

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by Laura Kressly

Passion Fruit is very much Dior Clarke’s story, but it’s not a solo performance. Though the first rehearsal I observed consisted of the director Melina Namdar solely working with Clarke, the second included actor Hayden Mampasi, who takes on a varied collection of supporting characters. In this rehearsal, director Melina Namdar uses a range of exercises to develop Mampasi’s characterisations and ensure the people he plays are distinct from each other. It’s an intense day full of work on the details that bring characters to life on stage, showcases Namdar’s expansive director toolkit, and the techniques that actors use to bring characters to life.

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Feature | Making Passion Fruit

PASSION FRUIT Tickets, Multiple Dates - London | OutSavvy

by Laura Kressly

Despite the best of intentions, working with friends doesn’t always turn out well. It can lead to crossed boundaries, arguments, and environments that make others uncomfortable. Work can be sidelined by inside jokes and messing about. Additionally, being mates doesn’t mean you have the same creative vision. However, none of this is the case with actor/writer Dior Clarke and director Melina Namdar. The close friends and creative associates are working together on the premiere of Clarke’s autobiographical, coming-of-age story Passion Fruit, about growing up in north London as a Black, gay man.

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Feature | Re-framing Narratives with Maybe You Like It Productions

Pleading Stupidity | Camden Fringe | Maybe You Like It Productions

By Diana Miranda

Maybe You Like It Productions has just finished a run at the Camden Fringe premiering their comedy Pleading Stupidity, a show written and directed by Caleb Barron and inspired by the real case of the ‘Dumb and Dumber bandits’, as the media called them. The show tells the story of two Aussies who robbed a local bank during their gap year in a Colorado ski town, whilst wearing name tags from their jobs and making no attempt to hide their accents. The crime was solved in eight minutes.

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Feature | Henry VI Part One: open rehearsal project

Cast revealed for RSC's Henry VI Part One: Open Rehearsal Project |  WhatsOnStage

By Diana Miranda

The Royal Shakespeare Company flung open their locked playhouse doors with a new project that engaged audiences in a socially distanced but immersive manner: they put the making process of a play online for anyone to watch. From 1- 13 June, audiences (or rather Vimeo viewers) could join the cast and creatives of Henry VI Part One every weekday for live streams of the company’s morning physical and voice warm-ups, lunchtime rehearsals, and evening green rooms that answered audience questions and allowed the team to expand on their crafts, normally kept behind the scenes. All the live streams were available to watch until 25 June. If uncovering a rehearsal process doesn’t sound unconventional enough, the show did not hit the stage boards. Instead, the final performance consisted of a live-streamed, rehearsal room run-through from the RSC’s Ashcroft Room on 23 June.

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Feature | Dismantling Rehearsal Room Hierarchies

by Laura Kressly

In some of the recent popular discourse on the abuse that pollutes the theatre industry, hierarchies and the power they bestow on those at the top have – rightly – been criticised. A rehearsal room mostly populated by freelancers, but run by a single salaried person on staff with the production company or venue, creates a massive power imbalance that can be weaponised. Of course, many rehearsal processes are steered by good people who don’t exploit their position, but in my 20+ years of working in theatre, I’ve rarely seen these hierarchies dismantled, either partially or fully, when the production company operates with one in place. Power is clearly and consistently utilised, with the person in charge easily visible at all times.

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Feature |A Director at Work

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by Laura Kressly

Two women are sitting on the floor in the corner of a north London pub’s function room. One gently rocks a chair back and forth with her hands, while the other one watches. The former is quietly focused, the latter grins and nods encouragingly.

If this moment was photographed, it would be difficult to identify the reality of what’s happening. I’d probably guess it was two friends chatting about something quite serious. Most – if not all – womxn would recognise the relaxed yet vulnerable postures that are often adopted when close friends are sharing something sensitive or important, usually curled up on a sofa with a glass of wine or cup of tea in hand. The image evokes a warming feeling of comfort that comes from knowing you are completely heard and valued, and freeing to know you can say anything in these moments of safety and support.

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Feature | Favourite Theatre Moments of 2019

Image result for my favourite things julie andrews

by Laura Kressly

Determining a Top 10 has become increasingly troublesome what with the amount of work reviewed by guest critics and the even larger amount that we get invited to but aren’t able to see. So, rather than a more traditional ‘best-of’ list, here’s a totally subjective list of a few of my favourite things – in no particular order – from theatre and performance in 2019.

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Feature | A Day with Oily Cart

Jovana Backovic, Robyn Steward, Mark Foster, Aaron Diaz, Griff Fender, Daniel Gouly in JAMBOREE. Design by Flavio Graff Photo credit Suzi Corker

by Laura Kressly

“Welcome to the glitter zone!”

I’m greeted exuberantly by one of the actors, who are mid-yoga warmup when I arrive. Though I try my best to quietly enter their rehearsal space, I’m flustered by a series of train and tube delays that mean I arrived nearly half an hour after I intended and it’s impossible for me to not be noticed. I self-consciously wave, smile, and settle into the chair that’s closest to the door. There are musical instruments, costume, sound equipment and lots of ‘stuff’ everywhere in their Tooting rehearsal room overlooking a school’s playground. And indeed, glitter.

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Feature |The Whitewashing of La Mancha

Windmills in Consuegra.

by Tony Diaz

The English National Opera’s upcoming concert performance of Man of La Mancha, a musical inspired by the Spanish classic novel Don Quixote, takes place in Spain where, coincidentally, all of the characters are Spanish. However, this production seems to include no performers of Spanish or Latinx descent.

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Feature | Top Ten Shows of 2018

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by Laura Kressly

Growing global discontent has been the hallmark of 2018, and 2019 is looking even worse. The last few years have marked a rise of the far-right, but theatremakers in opposition are letting audiences know it from the stage. Some of the best shows of this year show anger, fear, uncertainty or simply let the world know that enough is enough – it’s time for a fairer, more peaceful society that pays homage to all of its people.

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