I’m the one on the left, in case you couldn’t work it out…
Today we moved into the next phase of SOLD, with the shift from the rehearsal room to the theatre – Chapter Arts Centre theatre to be precise.
As well as setting up in the theatre today, we also spent half a day filming with a TV crew for The Wales Report to contribute to a package that will go out on the 7th November. Through the course of the filming we all had the chance to do one of our monologues as pieces to camera – something that always feels strange to me. As a theatre actor born and bred, I tend to look for a reaction from the audience. That’s one of the things I like most about working using Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) methods; they let you connect directly with members of the audience in a way that other ways of performing don’t but even in regular performances there’s a certain feedback from having people there that you just don’t get from staring down a camera lens. Still, it’s all good experience and I’m excited about seeing the result when it comes on the TV in a few weeks time.
The one thing that I noticed this week as rehearsals drew to a close was some mixed feelings that I wasn’t expecting. While I’m excited about finally getting the chance to show people the result of all the hard work we’ve all put in during the past few weeks, I also have a little bit of sadness. The rehearsal process with TO methods is so intense and seeing Andrea, Jason, Marcus, Shekira, Shireen and Jennifer every day for the past three-and-a-bit weeks means that it feels like I’m losing something by moving on from that phase of the process. Don’t get me wrong, I gain a lot as well – like the chance to spend time with my husband for starters! – but it still feels really odd to move out of that intensely creative period and into a different one.
Things are now picking up from a publicity point of view. The Western Mail did a great piece about the play and the issue in today’s edition which is also available online. Next week I’ll be on Radio Cardiff on Tuesday afternoon on the Diverse Cardiff with Michael Flynn at 2pm and the Pitch Arts and Culture show with Richard Huw Morgan on Thursday morning at 11am. I also did a Q&A on Twitter this week which gave me the chance to put across some of my own views on the subject of trafficking (something I’ll be writing more about at a later date) and about the play.
There are still tickets for the play, but they’re selling fast. Aberystwyth is sold out and reports from the other venues suggest that it you’d like to come it’s probably best to get in quick! If you want a reminder of the dates and venues, click here.
Unfortunately, due to other work commitments, I had to pull out of what looked like an extremely rewarding three-day acting course last weekend at the Butetown History and Arts Centre. As a product of the course, the participants created a piece of theatre that opened last night at the Centre and featured nine actors making confessions to the audience.
I’m not going to give too much away in case you have the chance to see this wonderful piece tomorrow night before it closes. However, what I will say is that it was an extremely moving, often touching, sometimes hilarious piece in which the full range of human emotion and behaviour was explored in one way or another. Although I’ve been working with TVO as an actor for over two years now, I still wasn’t prepared for just how in-your-face the performance was or how incredibly well every one of the actors inhabited their characters. It never ceases to amaze me how working with these methods can create such truthful characters and how completely absorbing the performances are as a result.
It was lovely to see rather than do with a production from TVO for a change and it’s wonderful to see new people coming to the company and to performance mixing with old faces. I’d strongly advise anyone who’s got the time tomorrow evening from 7pm to go and see it. It was a performance experience unlike any other I’ve had and not one I expect to see bettered any time soon.
‘Til death do us part
a play written and directed by JS Hartley
Two exclusive performances in Media Point of Chapter Arts Centre
Market Road, Canton, Cardiff CF5 1QE (www.chapter.org)
Tickets £10 at the door
Sunday June 24th 7.30pm with Simon Morgan-Thomas and Andrea Hodges
Sunday July 1st 7.30pm with Paddy Faulkner and Zoe Goodacre
Theatre versus Oppression presents an innovative production exploring conflict in relationship. The play explores domestic abuse and the different perceptions of those involved, based on actual testimonies and interviews, challenging expectations and judgement throughout.
Described by audience members as: ‘fantastic’, ‘brave and bold work’, ‘an unforgettable experience’, ‘an experience unlike any other I have ever had in a theatre’, ‘sensitive, accurate, disturbing and cathartic all at the same time’.
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