This morning started with a half hour compulsory warm up for cast prior to rehearsal start at 10am. I arrived as a plank competition had begun between Sara and Gareth. Pleased to report a win for the girls with 3 minutes 40! Then a quick partner game I picked up at National Theatre Connections Director’s weekend last weekend. Parallel Lines is a play with two pairs (husband and wife, mother and daughter) so these concentration warm up games for twos were really effective.
After a quick briefing on the Radio Cardiff interview so we ensure we leave the audience with a sense of uncertainty regarding what has happened, the first session of the day was exploration of props to music to inspire physicality during the hair cutting scene. The cast were given fabric, paper, books and pens as well as having access to the chairs and table from the set. My favourite moments from this experimentation included using the fabric as a restraint and blindfold for Steph, using the fabric to make a den and a bed and manipulating people using the material and elastic. Much playful destruction ensued with the paper and pens which highlighted the connection to school throughout the play (Simon and Julia are both teachers and the accusation highlights teacher: student care). Then we focused this on Steph and her mother, Melissa, using a protractor and school books. Steph’s use of the protractor implies both self- harm and sexuality.
A costume run in the afternoon was fantastic to see (not shown in pictures). Melissa has been given a brightly coloured bra which appears at the top of her leopard print top with leather effect leggings, jewellery, hair extensions and bright lipstick. A great contrast to the smart and authoritarian dress of Julia. Rehearsal photos were taken during a stop- start run to tidy transitions between scenes and refine some elements of the blocking. I love the moments where all 4 characters and thusly both worlds are performed in the same physical space. Behind Melissa and Steph in scene 1 Julia and Simon sit focused straight ahead and slowly take their coats off and place them on their chairs. Then during scene 2 where we see Julia and Simon interacting we see Melissa and Steph putting clothes on for the next scene. Great visual images are seen throughout the entire play and it is fascinating to see the offstage lives of the characters. A very different presentation from the naturalistic previous performances of ‘Parallel Lines’.
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