For ‘The Theory Of Everything’ piece, our first problem that we faced was the fact that Ryan and Sophia were musical theatre students and that I was an acting student. This meant that we had different time tables, with lessons in different places and that it would be harder to meet up and work on our piece than if we were all in one group. To solve this, when we first met up we decided to make a schedule of days we could meet and what times we were going to dedicate into specifically working on this piece. Once this was set in place it became much easier and we stuck to the times we wanted to rehearse successfully, with a few additional rehearsals as the performance got closer. Making a schedule is definitely something I will choose to create next time I am starting a new college project. It was useful to see our time mapped out and over all it kept us organised. Another way in which we combated the difficulty of not all being in the same course, was having a group chat on Facebook in which we could discuss the piece, the characters and the project. This was a small thing we did that became really useful, as it meant we always had a way to tell the other two members if we had any new ideas or discoveries. We ended up using it a lot and I think the communication brought us together as a group and helped us get things done.
The second issue we faced was the fact that we would be working from scratch. We had no monologue already written, no dance choreography and no music, so we really had to create everything ourselves. Therefore as a starting point, we decided to have our first group meeting as a brain storming one. We thought it would be good to have a session were we could just discuss and write down every idea that we initially had. We had ideas about coming back to a certain joint dance move but to be done with Ryan struggling more as Stephens condition got worse, we had the idea of giving Sophia a moment to walk away and various other ideas. Some were used but most of them were not, yet I still think that everything we ended up with, came from this initial conversation so it was a really good thing to have done.
Another potential problem was the fact that I have never written a monologue before. However I found it much easier and more enjoyable than I first thought. I decided to research and do some character analysis before I even attempted writing. I wanted it to be truthful and show an honest view of what the person/character ‘Jane’ was thinking. It had to be sensitive and I didn’t want it to be un realistic as the film is based of the lives of real people. To get all of this across., I ended up watched the film Four or Five times and even read ‘Travelling To Infinity: My Life With Stephen’ which is the memoir that Jane wrote. This helped enormously at understanding these two people’s lives in a way that meant I found it easy to write from her perspective and what she was feeling. This extensive research which I spent hours doing, alongside experimentation with the writing, solved the fact I hadn’t written a monologue before and if I ever write another monologue I will be sure to research in the same depth and get to know the character before rushing into the writting. Another way which I overcame the potential issue of it not feeling truthful enough, was using actual quotes in the monologue from the film and the memoir. This again made it feel much more natural and is something that im very glad I did.
Another solution that we had to find, was a way to piece all three elements of the song, the monologue and the dance together. After talking it through we decided that I should write the monologue first, then we could pick a song in which I could say the words too and then put the dance to my words. Once we had organised the order of what needed to get done, it made the process much smoother. It also through up another difficulty that I needed to then learn my monologue to fit with the song rhythmically and time wise. To do this, I recorded different versions of myself saying the monologue to the song we had chosen and then picked the one that sounded most effective. I experimented with tempo, pitch and also where I left dramatic pauses. Once the group chose the reading we liked most, I listened to it as often as I could, so that I naturally began to learn the points in the music where I said each different part. Again this was highly effective and successfully got the monologue in time with the music, in all the rehearsals following and the two performances.
The final issue we had for ‘The Theory Of Everything’ rehearsals, was that as the show was a revue style performance, there were a lot of pieces that wanted to rehearse and often it was hard to find a space in which we could do it. We however got around this by finding any area we could if the rehearsal rooms were in use. We used corridors, we went outside and sometimes we would share areas with other groups. It wasn’t the best solution and maybe we should have negotiated which groups had what spaces on which days but in the end we still got the work done.
The challenge we encountered with the choir song ‘Rainbow Connection’ was the fact that we only have four year one altos, two of which were not very confident on the alto harmonies. To solve this we decided to have extra rehearsals outside of choir to go through the part. We also recorded the harmonies so that we could listen to them and practice at home. I spent some time with Mia and Jess on top of this so that I could help them with certain bits of the song that they still found tricky. We also asked if one of the sopranos could sing alto, just so the harmonies were balanced. Luckily Lauren agreed and so we were much stronger. All of these things helped us to balance out the lack of altos and create a stronger sound.
For the ‘Bridget Jones’ piece, a problem that came early on was the fact that it kept getting side lined as I was focusing more on the group pieces. We decided to cut the piece as It wasn’t at a standard I was particularly happy with, and I don’t think we had enough time that wasn’t already being spent on other pieces to work on it. Over all I think that although the piece was fun, it was the right decision to cut it as it wouldn’t have gotten done in time.
Another piece that ended up getting cut but also had several other challenges on top was ‘The Titanic’ movement piece. For myself, a personal challenge was that I haven’t got any previous dance experience or experience in lifts, which is what the piece was going to primarily consist of. To over come this, I spent some time individually with Sophia who is particularly good at dance, where she went over the moves with me, to help me perfect them. For the lifts, I was going to be lifted by Chris, so we went through some trust exercises first and then gradually built up the complexity of the lifts. This helped me get over my fear of being lifted, so was definitely a successful solution to my lack of experience in that area.
We also found that a problem with the ‘Titanic’ movement piece was that there were so many different people involved. We had people across all three courses and there were so many of us that it became really had to get things done and to make key decisions. I think the piece could have done with a director, as there were so many clashing opinions. If we were to do it again, it might have been good to have someone in charge of the piece, as there were lots of good elements to it, just not very good organisation and control. Another problem with the vast amount of people, was that we all had different contrasting work styles. Some people wanted to improvise sections and then perfect them later, some people wanted to talk through everything before doing it and then others wanted to work on impressive moments like lifts. On top of this we all had different ideas of what we wanted the piece to be. Some wanted it to be more character based and others wanted a more interpretative dance style. These were a lot of the reasons to why we decided to cut the piece.
Another reason that resulted in ‘The Titanic’ being cut was the short amount of time we had. We only started working on the piece a week before the performance and it was just too big of a job for such a short amount of time. It also meant that people were missing out on rehearsing for their other pieces as the ‘Titanic’ needed more attention. I think that it was a good decision to cut the piece but im still glad it happened as things like the dance and lifts could be taken into a new project at some point and they are new skills I have learnt.
Over all we managed to solve a lot of the issues and problems that arised across several pieces, however a few pieces had to be cut for various reasons and we were unable to find other ways around it.