The first slice of our theatrical sandwich is buttered and ready to be filled – sorry, I’m really hungry! What I mean to say is that up until now, our rehearsals have involved exploring the first half of the play and now we’re getting to the meaty middle – sorry! Hunger pangs again… Before we launched into the latter half of the play, we needed to address the passage of time – around 6 hours. What do Simon and Lisa do to pass the time, to get them to the point where the second scene starts? After letting me and Andy hash it out, we then performed some freeze-frames, which Flora photographed, to summarise what happened during each hour…
|8.20am – 9am
Simon barricades the door, whilst Lisa gathers ‘essentials’
Simon looks for more information on the computer, whilst Lisa inventories their food
|10am – 11am
Both go a bit introverted and try to distract themselves
The waiting game. Lisa needs to urinate and negotiates privacy with Simon
The pair start to eat some food together and initiate small talk
The two have exhausted their games and fall into silence
With our immediate previous circumstances in our bodies, we could plough into the meat of the text (seriously, someone get me a chicken sandwich)! We worked the first unit of this scene, exploring our objectives; there are constant battles for status between Simon and Lisa, almost like a brother and sister – but there is also an internal struggle within each of them as to whether they should be worried for their lives or just grin and bear an awkward situation. Our characters don’t actually have much information about the siege, so there’s peaks and troughs in the energy and pace - flipping from panic to frustration in a moment. The start of this scene is very introspective; conversation and games have lulled, so their pair are musing aloud – trying to provoke each other. There’s lots of questions so Liz had us do an exercise whereby we reallyasked the questions of each other and wouldn’t move on to the next line of text unless we felt our questions would actually be answered. This saves us from falling into the trap of making every question rhetorical (as actors we know what the next line of dialogue or answer will be). Yes this breaks up the text and flow of the piece, which is why we did it as an exercise – whereby we were free to chew over and mull each question.
Liz also had us explore the weight of our words; Lisa and Simon both attack each other in the second half of the play – lots of home truths are brought to light and they need to physically land within each of us. For these exchanges, Liz give both Andy and I a pile of post-it notes; when we felt like we said something that was a ‘shot’ we had to place it on the other person, but also consider where we were hitting them – the mouth, the nose, the heart, the head etc… What was interesting is that Simon kept trying to attack Lisa’s head – shaking her up and making her ‘see’ or learn and understand what he was saying, whereas Lisa was trying to hit him in the chest and heart – get him to emotionally awaken. Andy and I also worked with Liz and Flora individually on our ‘truth’ monologues, whereby our characters pour out their darkest secrets. For me, actioning each line really helped – assigning a transitive verb (e.g. to pierce, to tickle) to lift the colour and direction of the text. We also discussed the deep sense of shame and embarrassment Lisa feels with her revelation; this is the first time she’s actually admitted this and said it aloud, so she’s figuring out what she’s saying and how she feels as she’s saying it. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the weight and gravity of words when performing a monologue – but it needs to be difficult to spit out, as once its out into the ether, its more real. A lot of Lisa’s shame comes as a result of social pressure and at the end, she realises she did everything for nothing – as nobody else cared. Heavy shit man!
We continued in this vein throughout the rest of the play, but I’m being a coquettish tease and not revealing exactly what we got up to – otherwise you won’t bloody come and watch us! However, we spent a lot of time looking at Simon and Lisa’s relationship with each other and the rest of the world; Lisa is in her own little bubble looking out, whilst Simon is in his bubble looking in at himself. Throughout the play, although the two are both isolated and actually very similar, they just miscommunicate all the time because they fail to see things from each other’s viewpoint.
We’ve got just over a week left until we open, so be sure to book your tickets: