Backstage Blog: Betrayal Week 3
In February I took a few days out of my life at Sheffield Theatres to direct a reading of a new play by Dave Speck for Hull Truck Theatre, as part of the their season entitled A Play, Pie and Pint. The play lasted just under an hour and I had two days to rehearse it. In the time that I was given, I believe I did a pretty good job, mainly due to having some great actors to work with. Of course, it would have been very nice to have had a little bit longer, however, if I’m really honest, I not sure what I would have done if I’d been given 4 weeks. When the Betrayal read through came in at just over an hour, the thought did cross my mind, what are we going to do for four weeks? Now at the end of week three, that question has answered itself countless times. Pinter’s play is a mine of information, all of which needs unearthing. It is a play full of contradictions. In the rehearsal room we can dig up as much information and clues as possible but eventually it is down the actors to pick and choose which piece of information they will find useful.
One of the most famous things about Harold Pinter’s masterpiece is its time structure. The play is written backwards, starting in 1977 and ending in 1968. (Director) Nick Bagnall’s approach to rehearsing the play has been to restructure the play putting the scenes into their chronological order. One of the traps you can fall into whilst rehearsing this play is giving too much reverence to its structure. Restructuring the play gets rid of this distraction, allowing the actors to see where they’ve come from and follow a natural journey through the play. I’m sure when we put the play back into its conventional order (I mean the order in which Pinter intends the play to be performed), it will unearth a mountain load more of information- you’ll hear more about that soon enough.
One extra character in our production is Colin Richmond’s design. Without giving too much away, Colin’s design facilitates the fluidity that this play demands by including a revolving floor (ooo! I hear you cry). The revolve supports us getting in and out of the nine individual scenes seamlessly without slowing down the action or having to have over complicated scene changes. However, one of the difficulties of having a revolve is not having an equivalent alternative in the rehearsal room. This is a major challenge as it means we can only speculate how it will work in reality; you’ll see how we get on when the show opens in just over a week!
Posted by Alex Thorpe on Wed 09 May 2012