98 days…

January 18, 2010

Drama workshop with the prospective “core cast” – the seven actor-musicians who’ll carry the show, master the script, drive the action.

Sarah makes it clear to all that “this is not an audition” and facilitates a relaxed workshop atmosphere with warm-ups and theatre games led by our community cast workshop leaders. The actors respond well and are soon playing games together, cutting-up the lines the script, tagging lines to build non-linear stories.

I love watching actors, their creative responses to the contradictory demands of their work – the need to be totally vulnerable in precisely those times when you risk rejection, to be inside the character without being “lost” within it, to cooperate and play together like children, yet more generously, selflessly – even though everyone knows deep down they’re in competition, in some way – for a part, to be in the core cast, to  get paid.

This small pro cast will work alongside other actors AND non-actors in our community cast. Sarah and I spell out that there’ll be no Us and Them, no luvvies green rooms.  Actors will also be required to work with schools and members of the adult community cast. The workshop leaders will work with key members of the creative team – writer, director, actors, designers. The aim is that, by the time they all perform together in the Cathedral, it’ll be seamless, one cast, one crew. The Mysteries Massive.

The Bankside and Borough community is both local – it’s a relatively small area, a south London village – and wide-ranging: from wealthy new residents and businesses to people on the margins.

This last time we did this full drama – in 2000 – this was a community in transition, with outlaw parties in The Drome under the London Bridge railway arches and the Clink street studios, before the developers moved in and the legendary  Backspace became another Starbucks.

On balance, this entire area is a lot wealthier than it was the last time we did it, even though some are still here from the wild old days and there are still a lot of people living on the edge. We want the community cast to reflect the whole range of people living, working, studying here – anyone, in fact, who feels a connection to this magical place.

It’s been my blessing – and curse, as John Crow would say – to move between many worlds on this “wild Goose chase” that revealed The Southwark Mysteries.

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