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Joe Ward Munrow on his debut play Held

Posted by Rehearsal Room on 22nd Oct 2012 at 10:39 | 0 comments

Hi, I’m Joe Ward Munrow and my first play Held is receiving it’s premiere at the Playhouse Studio from November 8 – December 1st. The first week of rehearsals are over and it’s been an exhilarating time. We started on Monday with a quick look at the model box of the beautiful set and I met the actors: Alan Stocks, Ged McKenna and Pauline Daniels. We ease into the script, the director Lorne Campbell, going slowly through each scene.

It’s so useful to hear the dialogue, that you’ve only previously heard in your head, out loud. Especially the scenes that rely heavily on rhythm, it’s where you find out if any of it works and if it comes alive when spoken. The actors and director are great and my favourite thing in the rehearsal room is that initial interaction between actors and the script. The best bits are the surprises, a line phrased differently that completely turns the meaning in an interesting and dramatic way. As the director and actors explore different interpretations and deliveries you get an insight into just how many possible plays there are within one script. It’s also nice to hear other people’s opinions on the characters and the story as it really makes you aware as to whether the key ideas in the play are communicated clearly enough on the page. Also, because the actors have to inhabit these characters their ideas on what they’re like can uncover a lot more creative detail and back story.

It’s really only through hearing the script that we get a clear idea of where the re-writes need to happen. The best indicator is if the actors are having to do the mental equivalent of gymnastics to keep hold of a sense of character and intention. Lorne is very observant of where the lines start to waver or lack function and with each redraft it feels as if the script is getting leaner, more muscular.

By the end of the week we all have a much cleaner sense of the play, especially it’s rhythm as a whole. The tension of the play, the way in which the characters change and, most interesting to me, the life of the play outside of the words. The movement and physical interaction of the play that stand alongside and enhances the dialogue are starting to come to the fore. By five o’clock on Friday it feels as if the characters have much more shading to them, the set and movement around it are turning into complex and interesting patterns and the play itself seems to be developing a momentum all of it’s own.

I’m excited.

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