Finding the words

Base Layer is going to be a devised production, so that we can tell our own story and raise awareness in our own way. However, due to the exam commitments of our cast and crew, we only have two weeks to rehearse the piece. Therefore, Base Layer is going to be made up of extracts from pre-existing plays so that we have a script to work from and to speed up the content creation.

To find the extracts which are most useful to us, we have to read lots of play scripts – some of which prove to be useful but others aren’t so relevant. I have found reading scripts a very different experience to reading a book written in prose. Looking at a script on the page, you get through the text a lot more quickly than you would in performance. You can speak the lines in your head a lot quicker than if you were on stage, and pauses aren’t as relevant at this stage.

One thing that I have noticed is that I have become more comfortable reading in this format the more I do it. I have become less aware of the character names at the side of the page, more accepting of the style and more involved in the story. With experience and practice, I have been able to visualise the play in my head more easily. I can imagine what I would do with the play: the people I would have on stage, the movement they would perform and the design in the space around them. It has become fairly obvious which plays we should be using, because I have connected with those ones and been able to visualise a production more easily.

Although I have only been looking for extracts, reading all of these scripts has made me excited for other projects in the future where I could use the entirety of one of these scripts. The creative side of this project is the reason we started doing it in the first place – we had to get through all of the organisational things to get to this point, but now that we are here things are beginning to flow more easily.

Base Layer rehearsals begin at the beginning of July, and by that point we will have a plan for the entire piece which extracts from all over the place. Our first performance is in just over 6 weeks so buy your tickets and come and help us support Young Minds, the UKs leading mental health charity. Tickets available here.

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