The prospect of starting a completely new project from scratch, with very little idea of what the outcome might be seems absolutely terrifying; and it was. It is also a bit of luxury nowadays to have a blank room in which to play, with completely free range given to the performers and leaving wide open the possibility that nothing might come out of it. This was helped enormously by a group of performers who gave their time for free and brought a whole new angle to this project. But more of that to follow.
All I had was a notion that somewhere in this Dickens Christmas ghost story was an essence of something theatrical, a sense that there was something here that could transfer to a performance space and a small scale performance space at that. It was an intimate story, a fireside story and consequently deserved and intimate setting. So that was the R&D starting point, to make something for small audiences, created with the skills of the performers and reducing the technological requirements to a bare minimum. To keep it simple.
A story, five performers and the studio at Proteus Theatre.
10th - 12th August 2015
It's fascinating and challenging seeing how others interpret something you love or hold dear, or, as in this case, something I thought I knew reasonably well and felt a bit protective of, i.e. this story. Having spent the past 8 months mulling it over, re-reading, re-writing in my head etc I felt I had a good idea for a starting direction, consequently the best thing to do seemed to be to throw it open to the group and see how they could deconstruct it, re-shape it and make me re-look at it from a new angle or angles.
So, after reading a lengthy synopsis of this short story we split up in order to storyboard - a great way to find out where the confusions are, the weak bits are, the strengths are and to visually see where the drama and plot points all lie.
It threw up some interesting pictures as well as directly challenging the story and my preception of it.
So this was how we started it and, needless to say it brought up far more questions than it answered. i.e. What was our protagonist's relationship with his sister? Why does this strange keep appearing? How to deal with the Dickens perfect woman? How to deal with the Dickens coincidences? or are we missing something here? and did our protaganist have a fiancé or not? And if he did was it his sister or his best friend who screwed that up for him? AND what is this story actually about?