The Read Through

With the scripts hot off the press, our assembled company of 30 sat down to read what writer Simon Startin has been working on over the past couple of months. Watching the scripts race through the photocopier and jump into the hands of our participants, it felt like a seed was being planted. A seed that we would nurture, shape and prune over the next four months. It felt good. And exciting.

Voices of many different ages spoke the words that have been written, bringing them to life as we journeyed through the stories of characters, of families, of history and the tales of the place that we call our community.

The session concluded with a number of “performed” letters being presented to Simon. There were some suggestions, some criticisms and a great deal of food for thought for Mr. Startin.

What did you make of it? Are there any thoughts that you didn’t offer up but that you would like to now? Was it what you expected? Please tell all. Every bit of feedback will help us on our journey….

Back to Grandchildren of the Blitz

11 Responses

  1. Muhammad

    It was pleasant to sing Underneath The Arches last week – can’t wait to learn all the words! There was a great team spirit as we moved about humming our favourite tunes, and later too when we connected with the children . . . Have been looking at the Ham Anderson Shelter scene. He struggles A LOT with the instructions – but can’t figure out that they’re upside down, not until Lea tells him in the end. Is he dense?! Illiterate?! How about changing the last Lea line to: ‘You’ve got the WRONG instructions’? Might do the trick!

  2. Muhammad

    There was quite a bustle on Thursday night, as we launched into measurements, form-filling and then blocking and lines. I like the boat already – it rocks! In the crowded shelter up pops a crowded boat. Before that . . . the plane raid we demonstrate might conjure a picture of a menacing scenario . . . (Lucy/Marigold/Peth – I’m missing from the 14th to the 24th March, as I’ll be on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.)

  3. Muhammad

    As Robert said – things are getting more interesting. It’s a good feeling blocking and bringing to life some of the script. I’m beginning to get a feel of Ham – his family inclinations, his role as a dad, his accent, his aversion to violence. I suppose he hates the war, just as much as anyone else. Does he somehow contribute to the war efforts? Is he a bit of a pacifist? . . . I’m starting to get used to the house images – perhaps the audience will see actual houses behind our house clumps. The Tesco scene – a busy modern market. . . . Look forward to clutching the new script soon!

  4. Muhammad

    Oh, we also got into our houses, according to the script, and said 1 fact each, about our houses. I had 2 women in the house, and only 1 daughter! First, house no.7 got into a formation downstage, then came our house, no.8 – and so on. We formed a neat line, side by side – facing the Audience . . .

  5. Muhammad

    Ella, we worked on a revised version of the first part of the script. Peth & Simon are doing some re-writing. The 1st version of the script may be shortened – we’ll have a revised script soon. We worked from the re-written 1st scene, where an elder talks to a young person – then an old man takes a boy to Tescos where the former reminisces. We created a Tescos environment (with imaginary trollies, shelves and counters) where the old man and the boy spoke. We were reading dialogues off the script. Hope to see you Thursday, o daughter of mine!

  6. Ella

    This is one of my favourite websites! Unfortunately I couldn’t come on 27/01/11 (or anyone else from Alfred Salter) because we had a school pantomime – can anyone tell me what you did?

  7. Peth

    Story v Facts

    I agree there are too many facts. I also think there is too much reporting on world events. Simon and I are cutting away at this stuff. But we are not replacing it with one story (sorry Alex), but are adding just a little bit about the story of the project itself. This will create a bit of distance between the trauma of the event and the telling of it and allow us to snap from full dramatic pictures, to chatty explanation. There’s a new script emerging, but the words on the page will only capture part of the images and sounds of the eventual performance. Which is going to be very rich I reckon.

  8. Muhammad

    Alex may be right. Are we making a documentary play – or telling an elaborate story that throws some light on the Blitz in London? I know Simon has aimed to create a montage, however the interviewee bits and the narrator bits overwhelm the acting sections, and that could easily be the other way round. (Some of the narrator dialogues present detailed facts – best suited to the adults, I’m thinking – the kids may not be able to reel them off!)

  9. Muhammed

    Firstly, a warm thanks to Simon for the script. Question: should it be shortened? Perhaps it might be more workable if some of the interviewee bits were clipped to be shorter . . . Just wondering. . . . The questions at the outset can make an audience think – ‘Why do we have wars’ is repeated twice – what follows is about a war. The Old Man’s War is shown in bits and pieces – thru some drama, and some factual reporting. . . . Might be funny to get kids to speak Adult dialogues. Emotions can be highlighted: Cher Hendry’s indignaion, Jasmine’s fear, Kam’s brashness, etc. . . . Might be a good idea to limit the number of narrators.

    The characters in the script, like Ham, have to jump out of the pages and embrace reality on stage. They need to be awakened from their slumber, given advice about bringing up children the right way, and made to realize their problematic circumstance in the light of enemy bombing. Occupants of the various houses can almost see thru their walls to mostly glimpse at the horror in their neighbourhood.

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