Last year I was mainly blogging about the Lincoln Mystery Plays. This year it will be all about a very special production of Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’
At the end of November I met in the Room Upstairs at the Lincoln Drill Hall a year before our planned performance run – with John Armitage, Jo & Simon Hollingworth and Kate Melton for a read-through.
Not for the first time.
Three of those cast members worked with me on Converse Theatre’s first production, a tour of the same play almost a generation ago (nearly twenty years). Then we were well received, but some audiences felt the cast were ‘too young’ for the parts.
We ignored them of course and carried on touring. What can you do
with that kind of criticism. Get older?
Well now all of us have developed various careers and had children and marriages etc we were thinking maybe those audiences had a point.
And because the structure and themes of Betrayal include relationships maintained and tested over years, looking back, the fallibility of memory and the possibilities of changing your life, replaying Betrayal looks like a creatively interesting thing to do.
And we decided we would like to share the experience with you, whether you are a young creative like we were then, or someone not working professionally as an actor (like our cast) but with an ongoing interest in the arts and how they are made.
So anyway we warmed up, had a readthrough and discussed our plans. Simon was excited by the fine writing, Kate revisiting bodily states of tension, which Jo felt came off the page despite our relatively relaxed mode of reading. John A related to all the stuff about kids and the practicalities of arrngements and sleeplessness associated with them and was excited about researching elements referred to in the play.
We talked about rehearsing on location (pub, restaurant, Oxford, Cambridge) and Kate mentioned she had been to Torcello – there are photos.
By the New Year we had recruited Aggi Gunstone as dramaturg and John Stafford as sound worker. Busy people with lots of stuff happening this year, we did personal and collective project timelines as pictured here to help us plan our rehearsal schedule.
The first exploratory phase will run through to the end of March and we will be working once a week.
The second phase will run April to the end of May, by which time we will have the shape of the production before a lengthy break to allow everything to brew and to sort out practicalities.
The final rehearsal phase will take place more intensively in the Autumn before our performances at the end of November.
You are welcome to join us through the blog and in the rehersal room as the project unfolds.