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Love-Lies-Bleeding | Rehearsal Diary 3

Lightening Season

Words and image by Assistant Director Henry C Krempels

 

13 November, 2018

Love-Lies-Bleeding is set in isolation – an artist’s house way out in the desert. It mirrors the current situation of the owner of the house, Alex Macklin, who, after recluding in the desert suffers two debilitating strokes and is subsequently unable to communicate with the outside world. Nor with the inside? (I’ll leave that question mark right where it is.) 

The surrounding environment really intrudes on this play in a fascinating way and over the last week or two we’ve been introducing the various design elements into the rehearsal room. And here’s one thing I’ve learned: the desert is noisy

In one of my favourite passages from the play, Lia, Alex’s wife and carer, played by Clara Indrani, tells her new house guests about “lightening season” and the time she took her husband out to watch the storm rolling in. She tells us that his usually unresponsive body twitched at the thunder drumming through the mountains. 

This passage is a beautiful example of the role nature has in this play: the heat, the storms, the cicadas, the sand and, of course, the plants. They’re everywhere you turn (even in the title) and there have been long, thoughtful discussions about the design reflecting that. I won’t say anymore.

 

Love-Lies-Bleeding I Until 8 December I Book now

 

November 13, 2018

Love-Lies-Bleeding I Rehearsal Diary 2

And then of course there’s time

Words and image by Assistant Director Henry C Krempels

 

7 November, 2018

Today was not the first rehearsal we’ve worked intensively on scene transitions and may or may not be the last. DeLillo has a playful sense of chronology in this play and the time passed between scenes is, hmm, erratic to say the least. Instead, he’s way more interested in what happens if you’re many things at once; alive and dead; married and divorced; in solitude and in company. 

And he’s scattered this play with tiny deaths too. In my last blog I mentioned that the question, ‘At what point is someone dead?’ ran through the centre of this play. I still think it’s true, but now I think the focus is not just on death. There are re-births too: relationships that have come and gone and then come again; the same people, years later, in different bodies; exes; step-mums who becomes friends; friends who become wives; wives who run away with their “nightgowns ablaze”. 

The main recipient of this playfulness with time is the character of Alex, played by Joe McGann. We see him at several different intervals in his life, not too far apart, but far apart enough that his life is substantially different. This week Joe and I were discussing the work that his character makes as an artist. We stumbled on an interesting link here, that Art (of the kind Alex makes, at least) eventually succumbs to time too. At some point the person stops and time takes over.

So how time passes in this place surrounded by sand is fascinating to grapple with. And you know what? If my job allowed it, I would happily just sit in rehearsals and watch the small plays that happen in the time between the scenes. 

 

Love-Lies-Bleeding I 9 November – 8 December I Book now

 

November 7, 2018

Love-Lies-Bleeding I Rehearsal Diary 1

When Life Bangs At The Window 

Words and image by Assistant Director Henry C Krempels

 

2 November, 2018

I remember a conversation very early on in this process with Jack, our director. We were on a tea break (why is it that so much theatre gets put to rights in the tea break?) and he said that there’s a version of this play he could have done, which was set in a perfectly detailed living room, where scene after scene the characters are bumping up against the walls, unable to make a decision on a man’s life. But, he said, the ideas in this are so much larger than that. He said he wants us to pull out a bit. He wants to give a sense of just how big DeLillo’s world is.

I know that sometimes I’ve been guilty of making Don DeLillo’s world small. Or rather, taking him a face value. It’s very easy to do. I’m talking, first and foremost, as a reader of his novels. And in my opinion, he’s happy for us to believe his worlds are small. Take Cosmopolis, for example, which happens to be my favourite novel of his. I have an image of DeLillo politely smiling at me as I describe back to him the simple story of a billionaire in a limousine trying to get a haircut. 

But, what I have come to notice with DeLillo’s work, and what I understood Jack to be pointing to, was that Life is always just outside, banging at the window. And I’m pleased to report that the same is true for his plays. 

In the first instance, it comes in the form of Alex’s son, Sean, and his ex-wife Toinette. I love watching Josie Lawrence and Jack Wilkinson playing this first scene out. The text is so malleable in their hands and often hilarious, and it’s great to watch them surprise each other with a new moment, a new look, a new inflection. Josie, as you know, is a master improviser. 

The dialogue is deceptive in its simplicity but four weeks in and we’re still hearing new things. On the page, I sometimes found myself trying to keep up, and then I watched them stand it up and suddenly it’s an entirely different beast. It’s rich, funny and full of quirk.

For me, though, the one question that runs through the middle of this play is “when is someone dead?” which I’ll try and come to in another part of this blog. But, I can tell you now, I’m not going to take that question at face value. 

 

To be continued…

 

Love-Lies-Bleeding I 9 November – 8 December I Book now

 

 

 

November 2, 2018

Act and Terminal 3 | Interview with Lars Norén

Photo by Tristram Kenton

 

Your plays are often named in connection with the work of Strindberg and Bergman, as works which take us to the dark heart of social existence.

Yes, well, Strindberg was mad. It was a kind of controlled madness which he used as a tool. He was very skilful at that. My roots are also in English-language theatre, specifically in the plays of Beckett and Pinter. We started putting on Pinter very early on in Sweden. Pinter taught me about communication. People often say we should communicate more, but he thought that we did it too much, that by capturing too much of ourselves and others in language, we easily imprison ourselves and end up using language to hide something we too carelessly revealed.

 

One of the things your plays share with Pinter and Beckett is that your plays have a distinctly musical quality. The play of lines – between characters who are given no more background detail than is needed to allow the play to work – has a distinctly contrapuntal quality.

I hate stories. I can’t even read stories any more. Whenever I see a story developing I stop and go back. What fascinates me is the material and stories get in the way of that. I want to look at this point when you can feel the material coming alive so that it brings with it a way of seeing. I’m interested in individual moments, pictures or fragments.

When I direct I talk about the scenery as music, but I never now use actual music in my plays. What fascinates me is composing structures which work on different levels. I can start with a phrase which keeps coming back. It might contain nothing to begin with, but as the play of levels progresses it will suddenly fill out, bringing a whole world into view.

Theatre creates a kind of way of looking, a resonance. What interests me is the moment of indeterminacy which blooms in the gap between what is said and what is answered.

 

Tell us a little about how you write.

When I start to write I am like a bird who is about to leave for Africa. The birds gather, swallows. They wait and watch for days and days until the right moment. When they see it, they go. I have been writing since I was 15. My words give themselves to me more readily every day. At the same time, the nearer one comes to capturing something in language, the more visible becomes the gap between the described and the description. It’s a failure, but a failure which can still take you closer to something in a different way. Words create a shadow. Those are real.

 

Your plays often confront strong social issues, such as terrorism, as well as more general issues to do with characters breaking down on discovering something about themselves.

I am less and less interested in what happens in the world. At 74 years old it’s a world I am preparing to leave. I write most now about older people, not because I am old myself but certain details – the colour of a toy, the feeling of evading a caress – are more luminous to one who looks back more than they look forwards.

 

But do the realities of life, in modern Sweden say, have a relevance?

Certainly, the false harmoniousness of Swedish life lends a certain explosive power. Sweden is a successful country. Our social reforms sit very deep. But like elsewhere, our politicians have failed us. We say we are a country that hasn’t been at war for 200 years, but in Sweden live many thousands of people who come from wars. Those wars live on in them. They become our wars. You can’t contain these conflicts by keeping them hidden under the illusion of harmony. The big explosion hasn’t yet come here.

 

Is language a part of this?

Yes. Swedes have learnt very well the game of disguising what they think. One avoids subjects. One is afraid to say anything inappropriate in company. It’s like we are afraid of the world. I have become more and more disgusted with this conformity. Language is thinning out under the pressure of conformity. We hide increasingly behind euphemisms which leave a kind of mucus over everything we talk about. The truth comes out when people are drunk. Or when someone is about to die. It’s a special kind of truth.

 

Your plays often focus on explosive points, though the surface of the plays is often very calm. Do you think theatre can also help us?

The empty stage is sacred to me. It’s the place of our greatest ambitions and for our hardest truth-seeking. An audience absorbs the best and the worst moments of life. You don’t need to identify with characters. You take what you see and carry it away with you, inside.

With film, even though it has perfected in many ways the art of illusion, one is still constantly aware of the medium. But with theatre, when done well, can be entirely transparent.

 

Is the theatre itself in danger?

Theatre has existed for over two thousand years, maybe much more. It shows no sign of going under. But it does betray itself. There are too many special effects, too many celebrities looking to sell themselves, or to be loved, to become their children, cradled in the loving gaze of the audience.

Theatre must return to the word and the naked stage. Because there is nothing more beautiful than an actor on the stage, an actor plainly, really there. That’s truth. Everything else just gets in the way.

Interview by Guy Dammann

Act and Terminal 3 | 1 – 30 June | Book Now

June 7, 2018

Little Eyolf | The Striking Portrait of a Child

Pia Tjelta (Rita Allmers), Kåre Conradi (Alfred Allmers) & Øyvind Eide

 

 

When Ibsen returned to Norway as a world famous dramatist, and settled in Kristiana after 27 years abroad, his desire for travelling was over. To the surprise of many, he quickly settled into city life, and made the Grand Cafe his local. Even while writing his plays, he never sought peace at spas or mountain retreats high up in Alps, on the contrary; he stated that he couldn’t understand “that people with comfortable homes, were eager at the first sign of warmer weather, to leave town for the deadly boredom of the country with all its disadvantages. Not
 only would one renounce all the usual conveniences and comforts of daily life such being able to work in the peace and quiet in one’s own private study, a comfortable bed, the newspapers at one’s cafe and so on in order to be shut up in a mediocre hotel far away from civilisation where one in addition to other discomforts would be at the mercy of the weather and consequently become a prisoner inside four walls without the resources of the city to fill the emptiness…”

Ibsen met the boy, Johan Hansen, a pupil at Ruseløkka School who became Ibsen’s errand boy. Little did Johan know that the playwright was busy writing Little Eyolf and was using him to study the ways of boys think and express themselves. One of those who was impressed by the play when it was published, was the fellow author Alexander Kielland. He spoke of his delight to his sister, the painter Kitty Kielland, and how surprised he was by Ibsen’s accuracy: “I find that the rat woman who takes care of the unloved little children has great depth and truth… Notice how much deeper the Old Devil gets to our true nature and shows us that the much praised love of one’s children is just the pressure of responsibility and jealousy while you have them and bad conscience when they are gone. I think the detail I most admire in the play, is after the scene with the rat woman, when Little Eyolf says to his aunt: Imagine! Now even I have seen the rat woman. That the Old Ghost can remember that this is how such an event is experienced by a boy. If you see Ibsen, you must bow all the way down to the ground three times, but you do not have to say anything. “

With regard to the idea of the rat woman, Ibsen showed his knowledge of the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin in a newspaper interview, but that his inspiration was a woman from his childhood town Skien. We don’t know for certain, but Ibsen probably also knew of an illustrated children’s book around the Hamlin legend by Robert Browning, which appeared in German in 1889, where one of the children was depicted with crutches. The lame boy is left behind as the rat catcher with his whistle lures the other children to the promised land where they are all swallowed up by the mountain. The lame boy himself complains that he did not get there before the mountain walls closed so that he could have been cured. At the same time, he becomes a witness to the fate of the other children, those who disappeared.

In Ibsen’s play, Allmers and his disability becomes a memorial to the selfishness of adults who don’t take care of the next generation; the infant Eyolf is paralysed in one leg after falling from the baby’s changing table while his parents are busy making love. Little Eyolf, who in Ibsen’s original manuscript only wants to play with the other children and learn to swim, follows the rat woman with terrified joy, as she rows out on the fjord. She is accompanied by the dog, Mopsemand, and handles a rowing boat with an oar in one hand while playing the mouth harp with the other. Only the floating crutch testified to the fact that Eyolf had drowned. The accusing, child’s eyes staring up from the bottom of the sea becomes an image of the parents’ deceit and guilt. Rita recalls her uncompromising reaction when she felt ignored, saying that she wanted her son’s death. Alfred Allmers abandons his idea of becoming an author and the philosophical questions that provided escape from the world after his son was paralysed.

After his son’s death, and while his beloved half-sister Asta is making plans to leave them, the Allmers go through a period of transformation. The world carries on as if nothing had happened, so what else that is responsible and future-oriented could they fill the rest of their lives with? Bitterly reflecting on their own selfishness they end up opening their doors to other children. Rita will let other children fill the space left by Eyolf: “They will live in Eyolf’s rooms, read his books, play with his things and take it in turns to sit on his chair at the table.” Is this a substitute for a broken life or a new meaning of life? The play’s reception in Denmark became tainted by speculations in the press, showing an interest in the theme of the piece. The Norwegian author, Thomas P. Krag, stole and showed the pages of the drowning accident to a journalist who made his own imaginative reflections on what the content of rest of the play could be. As a consequence, the tragic scene where the crutch flows towards the shore, was received with mirth in Danish theatres. Kielland thundered: “…damn the treacherous Danes who have spoilt the important reference to the crutch. In Copenhagen, actresses struggle to be heard trough the giggles from the auditorium when making their reference to the crutch. But it serves them right – Scum of the Earth.”

April 20, 2018

The Comet Interview with Andrzej Welminski

We recently sat down with Director Andrzej Welminski to discuss his UK premiere of The Comet with Teresa Welminski. Inspired by the life and work of Bruno Schulz, one of the greats of Polish 20th century literature, The Comet is an impressionistic portrait of the remarkable author. The Comet is on until this Saturday 24 March. Book now 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Focusing in on this performance, The Comet, give us a look at the characteristics of the performance. What’s different and special?
It’s difficult for me to explain in so few words but I think one thing is important; we wanted to create reality, because in art it’s always about reality. Reality of Bruno Schulz and reality of his drawings, his writings and his creativity mixed with his life events. The other thing is performance is used in several conventions so it is also gaming with theatrical conventions. If you are gaming with theatrical conventions…

Gaming? As in playing?
Gaming, yes -as in playing chess and cards. If you are gaming with theatrical conventions we can reach reality- reality which is real reality. Audience is a very important element of the performance, audience is involved in this performance, and audience is one of our characters. In our programme (opens programme), we have ‘dramatis personae and figures’. Spectators are in the first line. Spectators are the most important element in any art – without spectators, there is no art.

What level of importance is the narrator?
Narrator is lower level, but it’s also not the lowest.

Talk about the expression that you’re using – imagery, puppetry. What sort of thing will people see?
So talking about mixing of different conventions, we are using – I don’t want to spoil it of course, so I can’t tell you everything, but we are using elements of animation. Originally, this performance was made for the Puppet Museum, Museum Di Marionette in Palermo, so it was especially thinking about Marionette, and the subject of Gordon Craig who was also very close to this, animation of objects is one of the elements, it is one convention. The second important element, maybe we can say it, it’s a projector, a very old fashioned projector and it comes from the historical fact that Bruno Schultz brother, Isador, was owner of cinema in *Rhoditsch?* Bruno Schultz as a young child, used to spend all evening until the last performance in the cinema. He was especially fascinated by black and white Walt Disney cartoons so maybe this will also be recognised in our performance. I think emotions are also very important – we try to share emotions with spectators.

March 21, 2018

Trouble in Mind | Rehearsal Diary 3

An insight into the third and final week of rehearsal with Assistant Director Fay Lomas.

Our final week in the rehearsal room has been dedicated to finessing the work we have already done.

We’d had a fair bit of time since working Act 1, so we spent the earlier parts of the week getting ourselves reacquainted with the act. One thing we’ve been exploring is the bubbling energy of the first day of rehearsals. The strange thing about theatre is that it can feel like having that nervous feeling a child gets on the first day of a new school – but on several occasions every year. You’re constantly thrown into new environments, with a new thing to work on, and new people to work with. We’ve been taking our understanding of this strange, exciting day that is the first day of rehearsals and putting it into our playing of Act 1. Laurence has emphasised that Act 1 needs to feel like it slips by, floating on the energy of the first day of rehearsals.

We’ve also dedicated a significant amount of time to exploring the status of Manners (the director) in the rehearsal room. He is a director from Hollywood, who is gracing Broadway with his presence on this one show. People have seen his work, and they know he can make their careers if he chooses to take them back to LA to work on his next film (or perhaps break their careers if they fall out with him). We’ve been exploring ways of creating his status – through the manner in which characters address him, through the way in which they create space around him.

After this time delving back into Act 1, we returned to Act 2. One of the points of focus for our work on Act 2 this week has been continuing to explore the style of acting in the play-within-a-play. We’ve been doing historical research into the theatre company called the American Negro Theatre, which was highly active in the mid 1940s to mid 1950s. We’ve been looking at photos of their productions, as well as finding film footage of actors from that time (Sidney Poitier has been a particularly useful point of reference). We’re exploring the balance between a way of acting that feels quite stylised to us in the 21st Century, but that at the same time has a kernel of truth within it.

Towards the end of the week, we started to run each act in a variety of ways. Sometimes we’d run it sitting in a circle, so as to reconnect to the text, focussing on getting the accuracy of textual detail. Another way was to run each act again sitting in a circle, but with the actors standing up when their characters are involved in dialogue within the scene. This was a fascinating exercise as it enabled the actors to be continually playful, moving with their dialogue within (or sometimes around) the circle. It was also very useful to see the added energy it gave when actors stood up to speak – it launched them into the scene. We learnt lots from this exercise, which we then took into running each act in the space with the blocking we have decided upon. We also had one day when we were able to rehearse onstage, with the actual set, which was very helpful.

At the end of the week, we ran the whole play. We’re now into tech week, adding in costumes, sound and lighting, ahead of our first preview on Thursday.

Trouble in Mind | 14 Sep – 14 Oct | Book Now

September 12, 2017

Trouble in Mind | Rehearsal Diary 2

Assistant Director Fay Lomas takes us inside the second week of rehearsals for Alice Childress’ Trouble in Mind.

It’s been another action-packed week of rehearsals up in Notting Hill. We’ve been working through Act 2 and also spending some time going back over sections of Act 1.  

As last week, upon approaching each scene, we spent a significant amount of time digging into the text, followed then by getting the scene up on its feet. We’ve been focussing on making sure we keep on adding in the detail. Everything has to be specific, nothing general. At times, this has meant asking ourselves – what’s the backstory to a line or a relationship? On other occasions, we did an exercise which involved the actors, on their line, pointing to the character(s) to whom the line is addressed. Linked to this, we’ve been asking which lines are private discussions between two characters, and which lines are intended for everyone to hear. With the private lines, we’ve asked ourselves, how do the characters achieve privacy within this rehearsal room? Where can they go to have a subtle chat? When lines are public we’ve also had to ask ourselves, how are the characters affected by what they hear? So, for instance, how do the other characters react to the director singling out one of the actors for public praise? The play is also full of interrupted conversations – Laurence has encouraged the actors to consider what a conversation would go on to say if it didn’t get stopped.

As last week, we’ve had to ensure that we don’t pre-empt rows. We’ve discovered that often characters are entering a discussion hoping it will go well, that they will be listened to, and then suddenly things spiral out of control. Connected to this has been the question, is there enough pressure on the characters to make them act the way they do? We’ve done a lot of work exploring how tension builds and what it is that makes an argument suddenly explode.

Besides detailed text work, there’s also been props galore. The smallest details in the script translate into things that take a lot of work in the rehearsal room. For instance, the play is set in the late autumn – this means that all the characters have coats, hats, scarves and gloves and the actors have to work out the precise choreography for taking them off when their characters enter the rehearsal room and for putting them back on when they leave. It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how complicated every day items can become when you’re onstage and trying to fit the action around what else is going on in the scene. And of course, the play within a play means that there are props and costume pieces associated with that too. Andrew Alexander, playing the stage manager character in Trouble in Mind, is kept very busy indeed moving ironing board here, bucket there, and scripts here there and everywhere!

This week, both in text work and in staging the scenes, we’ve rehearsed through dividing each scene in short sections, which we then rework many times, in lots of detail. Laurence encourages the actors to keep on asking themselves what worked last time and what didn’t and then to make new or different choices as they see fit. It’s amazing to watch how much detail and how many new discoveries emerge from this approach.

We’ve also been doing lots of work on the play within a play – which is a prominent part of Act Two. A challenge at the heart of Trouble in Mind is that the play is critical of the content of Chaos in Belleville (the play within a play) and yet quite a lot of stage time is dedicated to the actors rehearsing it – so it’s important that, on some level, the audience is invested in the story of Chaos in Belleville and the characters and relationships within it.

This week also saw lots of costume fittings, and the get in: so our set is now basically up in the theatre.

We’re heading excitedly into our final week of rehearsals in the rehearsal room now, before going into tech the following week.

Trouble in Mind | 14 Sep – 14 Oct | Book Now

September 5, 2017

Trouble in Mind | Rehearsal Diary 1

Assistant Director Fay Lomas takes us into the rehearsal room for the first Trouble in Mind rehearsal diary.

We’ve had a busy first week of rehearsals for Trouble in Mind. With its deeply significant political backdrop, its play within a play, its beautifully drawn characters, and its fast paced dialogue, sometimes with several conversations going on at once – the brilliant Trouble in Mind has kept us on our toes. We’ve spent our first week of rehearsals laying the groundwork by exploring characters, relationships, and the politics behind the play, as well as staging Act 1.

On our first day of rehearsals, after we’d got to know each other (and learnt a lot of names!), we did a series of introductory exercises to the play. The story of Trouble in Mind starts on day one of rehearsals for a play called Chaos in Belleville, and one exercise involved the actors improvising that first day of rehearsals in character. This improvisation allowed the actors to explore their instincts about the relationships and power dynamics as the characters first enter the rehearsal room. On one level, the scenario in Act 1 is one that we all recognised (and indeed, were experiencing that very day): the first day of rehearsals, the nerves and excitement, some people you do know, lots you don’t, the anticipation of the weeks ahead etc. But underneath all of this in Trouble in Mind is the political landscape of the play, set in America in 1957, at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. Race affects everything in Trouble in Mind – what’s going on in the play the actors are rehearsing (Chaos in Belleville); what’s going on in their rehearsal room; and what is going on outside the room. The same year that Alice Childress wrote the first version of Trouble in Mind, Emmett Till, a 14 year old boy, was lynched by a gang of white men for supposedly whistling at a white woman; when Alice wrote her second draft, in 1957, black school children had to be protected by the army from white supremacists as they made their way to a newly integrated school.

Following this improvisation of the first day of rehearsals, we had a series of discussions about status. Trying to assign a status to the characters from 1 (lowest status) to 10 (highest), we discovered just how complex status is in the play:  what the difference is between the status the characters are, what they think they are, and what they want to be; how the various characters have very different views from each other on the status of other characters; and how status changes over the course of the play.

The rest of the first day was spent reading through the play, and showing the actors the model box for the set, designed by Polly Sullivan. We also had a session with our voice coach, Elspeth Morrison. Most of the actors have to master two different accents: both those of their characters, and those of the characters their characters are playing in Chaos in Belleville. Elspeth talked to the actors not only about different accents, but also about the different tones, intonations, or qualities of voice they might adopt to distinguish between their two roles.

After the first day of rehearsals, the rest of the week has been spent working through Act 1 in detail. For each scene, we did some ‘table work’ first (detailed text work on a scene), and then staged it. What was particularly interesting about our text work for this play was that we did the table work on the set. Laurence Boswell, our director, told us on day two of rehearsals that we would work our rehearsals in the positions that the characters within the play work their rehearsals. Other echoes from their rehearsal process have found their way into ours. We even found ourselves tea-breaking at the same time as the actors in the play! And I have somehow managed to develop the pen-dropping tick of the assistant director character in the play….

Alice Childress’s writing style is incredibly detailed – indeed, Laurence has emphasised this week how the play needs ‘novelistic detail’. Tanya Moodie, playing Wiletta, described the play as like jazz, in terms of the subtlety of the interplay of the characters’ voices. This is both one of the joys and one of the challenges: for the majority of the play, most of the characters are onstage at the same time. Something that has been very important has been to find the specificity of the lines, working out which lines are private (and to whom they are addressed) and which lines are destined for the group. Another challenge how quickly the tone shifts, from humour to high tension, in the space of a breath. There’s a rage bubbling underneath the play – one of the questions we’ve been investigating this week is when do the characters contain it, and when do they let go.

Another aspect of our work has been developing the improvisations: the script often indicates moments where everyone onstage talks at once (for instance, in greeting the director on the first day of rehearsals), and we’ve been improvising our way into these sections. We want to ensure that we make these improvisations specific, and also accurate to the period (we’ve been looking up when certain exclamations came into American English, for example, to make sure we’re not being anachronistic). A final major element of our rehearsals this week has been working on the different styles of acting in Chaos in Belleville – and making sure that we make it clear for the audience when we’re in the play within the play, and when we’re not.

The first week has been highly rewarding, and we’re now setting our sights on Week 2 of rehearsals, and Act 2 of Trouble in Mind.

Trouble in Mind | 14 Sep – 14 Oct | Book Now

August 30, 2017

Trouble in Mind | Tanya Moodie

Tanya Moodie to Reprise her role as Wiletta Mayer in Trouble in Mind

Following her widely acclaimed appearance at Theatre Royal Bath last year, Olivier Award nominated Tanya Moodie will return to Laurence Boswell’s production of Trouble in Mind when it premieres in London this September. Tanya will make her Print Room at the Coronet debut in the role of Wiletta in Alice Childress’ groundbreaking play, with previews from 14th September. Further casting will be announced in due course.

Trouble in Mind opened at Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio in November 2016 to huge critical and public acclaim. Written by trailblazing 1950’s American playwright, the production tells the story of a group of African-American actors rehearsing for a Broadway production, in a theatre dominated by white men. By turns comic and dramatic, Childress’s Trouble in Mind, which has not been presented in London for over 20 years, was the first play by a black woman to be professionally produced in New York. 

Tanya Moodie said, “After the success of Trouble in Mind at the Ustinov, I am delighted to be sharing the story in London at the Print Room. I wanted to find a character’s voice on stage that articulates the challenges of transcending our limitations and realising one’s fullest creative potential. Finding Trouble in Mind, bringing it to Laurence, gathering a superb creative team and sharing Alice Childress’ play has been the most uplifting professional experience of my career. Thank you for supporting our work.”

Wiletta Mayer is a talented African-American actress who has spent a lifetime building a career in the theatre. Now she is on Broadway, rehearsing Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching play with a white director. As rehearsals progress, Wiletta finds it increasingly difficult to relate to the part she is playing. Will she be able to overcome her misgivings and let the show go on?

Tanya Moodie is a multi-award nominated actress recently recognized for her role in Fences alongside Lenny Henry; Constance in King John (The Globe) and Hamlet with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Further theatre credits include The House that will not Stand (Tricycle Theatre); Intimate Apparel (Ustinov Studio); The Under RoomChairA Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky (Lyric Hammersmith); CatchACDCFewer EmergenciesIncomplete & Random Acts of Kindness (Royal Court); The OverwhelmingThe Darker Face of EarthThe Oedipus Plays (National Theatre). On screen she is known for her roles in LegacyRabbit FeverCommon, SkinsSherlockLewis, The StreetThe Clinic (Series 6 and 7); CasualtySea Of Souls and Silent Witness.

Trouble in Mind | 14 Sep – 14 Oct | http://bit.ly/2uSHSvS 

July 10, 2017