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May 18, 2012

The live rehearsal process

After filming the pre-recorded sections of the show, we were then able to rehearse the live sections of the performance. Starting with the scene where Kelly steals from the shop, Emily S rehearsed reading the corresponding lines to what Kelly was saying in the video. At first this didn’t run smoothly; there was far too much of a pause between Emily’s and Kelly’s parts of the conversation. We reworked the script in places to make it flow more easily, and soon created the illusion of a conversation between the stage and the video.

The most heavily scripted section of the piece was the opening scene with the banker. We were able to rehearse this smoothly, in contrast to other sections of the piece which relied more on improvisation. Despite not wanting to work completely within the confines of a script, we found that rehearsing this section thoroughly gave structure to the performance, which soon turns to disaster.

As it was difficult to meet more than once a week, due to our timetables and travelling, Emily  and I more often rehearsed the live parts of the show together without the rest of the group. Luckily most of the action on stage involved our characters presenting the minigames and reacting to the videos of Kelly. Although we had scripted a rough outline of the dialogue we would have alongside the videos, we found that it felt more natural to improvise most of what we were saying, emulating presenters of many game shows who must think on their feet and react as though nothing is scripted. (Luckily enough for us, the show was an intentional disaster and somewhat covered the fact that we were hardly professional…)

The action on stage was split between both characters, making sure the pressures of the live show were not put solely on one person. Emily’s character introduced the show, and was in charge of communicating with Kelly and the cameraman, whilst my character took control of the minigames and spinning the wheel.

During the final video clip, as the game show declines into something out of control, Emily  and I barely scripted what we would say. Instead, the action on stage declined into semi-controlled chaos as we panicked and tried to stop Kelly, then got gradually worse as she arrives on stage and destroys the set. As this scene was mostly improvised, it was different during every rehearsal. Predictably, this was most successful during the actual performance, as we no longer had to merely pretend to destroy the set, and Emily  was sadly parted (irreversibly) with her wig.

The amount of scripting and rehearsal throughout the entire piece reflects it’s structure. Starting with the smooth, well rehearsed opening, the performance gradually became more chaotic, less scripted and more unpredictable. As there was barely any script for the closing few minutes, and rehearsals were held back by the limits of having only one chance to destroy the set, this meant that the end of the performance was almost as much of a surprise to us as to the audience.

Filed by at May 18th, 2012 under Evaluating the performance
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