Shaky Isles’ production of Gary Henderson’s Skin Tight opened at the Pleasance last night …
Gosh I’ve enjoyed making this. The good script helps, of course it does – I’m a writer, I know that! – but mostly why I’ve loved making it has been the company work. I’ve been made very happy working with actors who are my friends, who I want to watch on stage and who trust me enough to do silly/weird/stupid things in rehearsal, and who like (or at least put up with politely) the lying down & visualising bits. And who trust the process.
Phelim said this in an interview years ago : “just because the process doesn’t look good and is often painful to be in, that doesn’t mean the show won’t be alive or get somewhere interesting”, and it’s stayed with me because I’ve been in plenty of those messy processes, and I know that whenever I’ve trusted it will be all ok in the end – or it will at least be something in the end! – it’s worked out.
(This doesn’t only apply to theatre, obviously – it totally applies to first and 2nd and 3rd etc etc drafts, to cooking, gardening, and all the other making-work I care about.)
I’ve found it easier to trust those processes as an actor and a writer (and gardener) though, as a director it’s something I’m learning. I’m getting there I think, not least because I already believe the concept.
If we give ourselves to the process, the show (book, story, play, etc etc) will come. Do the work and ask the piece (story/event/idea) to show up.
Much easier said than done, I know, but also nicely simple.
Having a live musician (cello) on stage has been every bit as exciting and helpful to the work (and real delight to me) as I hoped it might be. A musician who is also a performer with story-telling instincts is a big big bonus.
Costume – how cool to have someone (else!) make & source the perfect costumes.
Lights – lovely. helpful. elegant.
A company that extends to nephew and supportive partners and old mates’ late night help and mentor-friends who mock my stupid questions and help anyway.
ooh – AND … we made the show in 15 and a half days of rehearsal, over a 38 day period. I think this helped. There was never going to be much time and for various reasons we could often only manage two or three days at once, but I think the time in between made a useful difference – things became consolidated, ideas arrived, the spaces in between helped. They often do.
Am feeling very blessed and really looking forward to the learning showing up – ie, the things I didn’t know I’d learned in this process becoming useful when I go back to work on my new book, when I next make/write/direct theatre (or even act!), when I teach next week at Arvon. It’s all joined up and that makes me happy too.