Rehearsing for promenade digital theatre

Rehearsing ‘A Secret Life’ has been quite different to other processes I have previously been involved in. Due to the very specific nature of the piece, the delivery of the audio via the smartphone app, as well as the outdoor setting, Joanna and the creative team had to devise a rehearsal plan uniquely tailored to the needs of the project.

First came the unconventional order in which things had to be done. The play’s different elements (text, physical journey, digital) had to be rehearsed first apart and then together, focusing on each one separately and then looking at how they all combine to tell a story. At times there was a feeling we were doing things back to front, especially from the actors’ perspective, but in the same way that deciding on the route the play would follow had to precede the final script, so the recording, editing and treating of the audio content had to come before the rehearsal of exact physical action, and the all-important (and for this project ongoing) ‘technical rehearsals’ had to happen alongside the sessions working on characters’ relationships, events and intentions. This way of working meant the actors had to dive in head first and make choices that in a traditional rehearsal context they might not have been required to make until a few weeks in, as well as demanding exactitude and precision, challenges that our cast rose to with good humour and determination. Read more