Week One of F*cking Men Rehearsals
Ten days of rehearsals, ten characters, three actors. How do you prepare actors to multi-role in such a short space of time? Mark Barford’s approach to directing Richard de Lisle, Harper James and Haydn Whiteside in our new production of F*cking Men combines physical and verbal character exercises to determine a definitive disposition for each character.
Mark started each session that focused on a new scene with the Laban efforts to support the actors’ development of a clear physicality for each character. The efforts are:
Identifying whether direct or indirect efforts would suit the character, Mark gave the actors their four options. They chose one action to work on and walked the space, incorporating the effort into the movement. They had to consider the weight (heavy or light) and time (sudden or sustained) of the effort . They were encouraged to experiment with the effort in different parts of the body. Mark would then instruct them to exaggerate the movement and then decrease the melodrama of the action by percentages, until the movement was so subtle that it couldn’t be seen but could still be felt by the actor. By going through this process with at least one effort for each character, the actors could begin to get a sense of how their character moves.
Mark also used visualization exercises to introduce the actors to their characters. They would visualize the silhouette of their character off in the distance, and as their character approached them they would see them in more detail, and notice the differences between themselves and the character. After this individual work, Mark would do group work with the pair involved in the scene in order to establish their given circumstances for that scene. In one exercise, they would sit across from each other and each state facts about themselves aloud, first
starting sentences with “I am…” then moving on to “Others think I am…” and finally sharing statements beginning with “I want others to think I am…”. In instances where the people in the scene were a couple, they would also state their impressions of their partner as part of the exercise. Before they would then rehearse the scene proper, Mark would work on the characters’ immediate given circumstances by asking the actors to improvise the scenario that took place right before the scene presented to the audience.
By following a similar structure to the rehearsal of each individual scene, Mark supported the performers in efficiently yet effectively developing their arsenal for each character. Each scene now had its own resonance, so week two would be all about weaving them together; bringing the same poignancy to the whole tableau.
F*cking Men runs until 9th January Book Now