Part IV To performance: a web woven
When the first draft is ready, we move from improv to learning lines. There is an interesting switch happening constantly between Macbeth and the meta-play, between Shakespeare’s lines and the new ones. We figure out how we can explain to the audience that we are doing a Shakespeare scene. We have to make sure the audience knows if we are playing our meta-characters or the Shakespeare characters, and when our characters are playing Shakespeare characters. A web woven to tell our final story.
“Because we are now doing a play within a play, we had to think about what our characters would think of the Shakespeare lines and that leads to new insights,” Rianne remembers.
Daan adds: “By also working around Shakespeare rather than just on Shakespeare’s work itself, we were able to naturally focus on the core aspects of it. This also emphasized just how important it is to take the audience with us through the play, improving our delivery of the text.”
Jo tells us we have to do a read-through. Attending this read-through will be some friends of hers, acting as outside ears and sharing their opinions about the story and our delivery. The read-through happens via Skype. To our joy, faces pop up that are already familiar within Park Avenue’s circles, some of whom from previous years who could not join this year because of Covid. But the same excitement and love for the production is still there.
As part of the Park Avenue’s creative team, Solange is invited to watch the first draft of the play. “Seeing an early version of the play via Skype to offer a fresh look and feedback was new and exhilarating. It had been months since I’d enjoyed a piece of theater so seeing people play was amazing in itself,” she says about out Skype-play. “All the thoughts we had about it were broadly discussed afterwards. It really felt like everything we said was taken into consideration and it was a lot of fun to contribute in our own small way to the fullest project.”
Nafysa, who had already helped a great deal with the creating of the characters, says about the read-through: “The creative process is something I greatly enjoy, especially in the encouraging environment that Jo and the players create. While not every idea is feasible or right for that particular show, no ideas are shot down and it isn't long before the next inspiration takes the group on a wonderfully collaborative adventure.”
Despite not being part of this year’s playing cast, they are a big help to the production by reflecting and sharing their thoughts. Character moments, important plot points and the use of Shakespeare scenes are discussed and noted. Quickly after this, we receive the final play. Now the learning of lines can fully begin.