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.

Then came the reality of needing to be both indoors, doing character and scene work, testing and troubleshooting tech, rehearsing in location, as well as outdoors, trailing the steps of our characters through Battersea, all in the same day’s rehearsal. If by chance you have been in the area surrounding Theatre 503 in the past couple of weeks, you have very likely bumped into some or all of us, headphones in, scripts and smartphones in hand, sometimes on foot, sometimes on the bus and sometimes sitting in a cafe, always carrying a multitude of bags. And if the locals thought what we were up to was a little bit strange, they were too polite to comment. (Well apart from the friendly old man who stopped Joanna and our student volunteer Cecilija, asking “well, what are you ladies up to?”, whilst they were filming the route and timing script sections along the journey one day. Lovely that the local man was interested, even though stopping to talk to him meant that they had to go all the way back to the beginning of timing that particular section…)

Rehearsing ‘A Secret Life’ has been a game of negotiating various technical considerations, the needs of the cast and the careful planning of the audience experience moment to moment, all in the name of story.

Ria Samartzi
Assistant Director

Share this Story
Load More Related Articles
  • Blog

    Our brilliant workshop leaders for our FREE workshops!

    We’re thrilled to have these brilliantly talented professional practitioners sharing their skills with young people in Mitcham Library in our FREE ...
  • Blog

    Die Fledermaus first road trip!

    So after the excitement of our young people’s workshops and our two school parallel productions for Die Fledermaus getting underway, we’re ...
  • Blog

    Do you like performing?

    We are thrilled to be running some drama workshops at Mitcham Library, Merton Arts Space during the Easter holidays. We have ...
  • Blog

    And the word was FUN!

    We asked Elliott, our workshop leader for the St John Bosco College Parallel Production to give us an idea of what ...
  • Blog

    Want to get involved with our work?

    Baseless Fabric Theatre is looking for enthusiastic and skilled people to join our Board of Trustees. What will you be doing? ...
  • Blog

    2018, what a year…

    What a year 2018 was for Baseless Fabric! We began the year with the thrilling news that we were the first ...
Load More By Joanna Turner
  • Blog

    Our brilliant workshop leaders for our FREE workshops!

    We’re thrilled to have these brilliantly talented professional practitioners sharing their skills with young people in Mitcham Library in our FREE ...
  • Blog

    Die Fledermaus first road trip!

    So after the excitement of our young people’s workshops and our two school parallel productions for Die Fledermaus getting underway, we’re ...
  • Blog

    Do you like performing?

    We are thrilled to be running some drama workshops at Mitcham Library, Merton Arts Space during the Easter holidays. We have ...
  • Blog

    And the word was FUN!

    We asked Elliott, our workshop leader for the St John Bosco College Parallel Production to give us an idea of what ...
  • Blog

    Want to get involved with our work?

    Baseless Fabric Theatre is looking for enthusiastic and skilled people to join our Board of Trustees. What will you be doing? ...
  • Blog

    2018, what a year…

    What a year 2018 was for Baseless Fabric! We began the year with the thrilling news that we were the first ...
Load More In Blog

Check Also

Our brilliant workshop leaders for our FREE workshops!

We’re thrilled to have these brilliantly talented professional ...

Join our Newsletter

We won't spam you with emails. Maximum one a month but usually one every three months.

Reviews

  • Mitcham has probably witnessed these human scenes many times before; the only change is that, this time, Mozart is involved, and everybody sings.
    Operissima

Follow us on Twitter