Community Theatre is interesting
I’m part of a play, actually a ‘Giant outdoor theatre event for the whole family’ which is happening at the end of April in the Piece Hall, Halifax, on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th April.
It’s the first performance I’ve been in, and I’m finding the rehearsals quite fascinating. The way the choreography works is an eye opener for me, it’s a style called Forum Theatre, and it works like this.
OK, imagine a room of say 25 cast members, from the local community, totally wide spectrum of ages and abilities. The director / facilitator of the group knows the play, and what our group is doing in it. But beyond that, it’s down to us all to determine what we actually do.
So, the facilitator splits us into 5 groups of five, and with just a few words of instructions, we’re told to explore ideas, to actually perform a scene for example, in our group. Here’s what seems to consistently happen.
One or two people take the lead in making suggestions.
Everyone follows them, adding their own ideas into the mix.
A scene is sketched together, and run through a few times.
That takes about ten minutes.
Then the facilitator asks each of the five groups to perform their version of the scene whilst the others watch.
Another ten minutes. Done.
Then the facilitator takes a bit from each, and creates the choreographed scene from the collage, basically ‘crowd sourcing’ it.
The facilitator, with constant input of ideas and suggestions from the cast, creates the collective scene, and we all practice it together.
What amazes me if the efficiency of this. A scene is created from scratch and brought to a stage of being choreographed and rehearsed five or six times, all in the space of about an hour.
It has to be the most efficient way to create performance. If a choreographer had to sit down and devise the scene, then teach it to a room of 25 people, it would take a day or more, I’m sure.
As it is, the scene just comes together in an hour, with everyone having a good idea of what’s going on, and a feeling of having co created it. Because that’s what happens. The room of people co create it.
Quite amazing just how effective a style it is. I’m wondering what other ways it could be adopted.
I’ll keep you posted on the rehearsals and performance. You can book at www.thepiecehall.co.uk 01422 525 217.
The play is called Zara, by the way. It’s about a woman with learning disabilities, who gives birth to a baby. A giant baby, 30 ft tall.