When trying to explain the concept and plot of this play it always sounds unbelievably complicated but is luckily very accessible not just from an audience’s point of view but also from the actor’s standpoint.
Sure, the subject and nature of the piece make certain aspects undoubtedly more complicated than the average play. Thankfully though, Nick Payne’s writing is so particular and exact that throughout our development of this production we have been afforded the luxury of simply playing the scenes as they are written and it’s through that process that we’ve been finding our characters. The writer’s intricate structure has allowed us to mine hidden depth as we’ve been going along and that has made for an enjoyably naturalistic rehearsal process. It’s a lovely contradictions and I think it’s what makes the play work so well. It has a high and lofty concept to wrap your head around but most importantly it is rooted in an authentic relationship drama.
Happily, myself and the two Beckys (Director Rebecca Rocker and Actor Becky Danks) have an easy rapport that has allowed us to really explore the capabilities of the play in the rehearsals. One of the main joys found in working on this play is that the different universes paint such a vivid picture of these two character’s lives that it gives both actors the chance to play in healthy conflict and opposites of character – bully and victim, innocent and guilty, caring and careless, nurturing and destroying, head over heels in love and entirely disinterested. It’s somewhat of a gift to an actor to be given the chance to play so many different versions of the same character and it is extremely helpful in assuring that the performances are hopefully, come performance time, never boring; never one-note.
It’s hard to say how different this rehearsal process would have been if we’d only had, say two weeks instead of two months. Having the rehearsals spread out sporadically has given us, I think, a depth and ownership of these characters that we may have perhaps struggled with in a more condensed, high pressured rehearsal period. I hope what we’ve done and what we’re still to do in the next few weeks has given life to this beautiful text. I hope we make you, the audience, think and feel in wonderful, equal measure.