This week was devoted to table work -a relatively mundane sounding activity which is actually a crucial step in developing the skeleton, the bones of the play. Fortified with tea, we shared our research on the historical situations in the play — and half of this play being set in the trenches of World War 1, there was a great deal to share. John, our dramaturg, gave us a history of the causes and treaties that led to the scale of the war and the followed that up with a vivid description of life in the trenches. I will ask John to post some of his research here so that we can share it with you.
The second stage of our work was to go through the script, line by line, and open the floor to anyone to ask any questions they might have about the script. These questions can be about specific words, lines, context, motivations – anything that the actors need more information on before the process of fleshing out the play. For Mary’s Wedding, the process is often a “where am I now?” exploration – these characters jump frequently in time and space, so tracking the logic of the dream took up much of our work.
My favorite use of table-work, however, is to spend as much time as possible opening doors for the actors – asking questions that allow us all to see multiple ways of playing a scene so that, when we get up on our feet (starting tomorrow!), we automatically start from a place of plenty that we can then pare down and streamline.
I have asked the company members to introduce themselves here, so soon you will be meeting the actors and crew for Mary’s Wedding.