Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Filled with Desire!

Last Wednesday we had our first rehearsal for Desire, a play which will have its UK Premiere in London this summer. It's by a celebrated Catalunian (as in from Barcelona, Catalunia, Spain) playwright and scriptwriter called Josep Maria Benet i Jornet who has just being honoured with a life achievement award by his government.  It'll be on at the White Bear (Kennington, South London) from July 13th-31st, and you're all invited...

First rehearsals are always unnerving. Will I find the character? Will the Director like what I'm doing. How will I get on with the rest of the cast. Can I do it? Will I pull it off? Will I enjoy it? Will the audience enjoy it? Can we do the play justice?

I find characters fall broadly into two categories: the angels and the demons. The angels are the ones that fill me with positivity and who teach me new things and whose presence I try to hold on to after the production is finished. I can never tell an angel ahead of time, they've included a simple scullery maid, a paranoid schizophrenic, a provincial prostitute, and an overweight Midwestern matron. The demons are the ones who suck the life force out of me and who bring out my worst qualities and play off my weaknesses. They can take me several weeks to recover. They are often characters that I'm initially attracted to but who turn out to be rather demanding tenants. They include an adulteress who murders her husband, a young peasant who wants a child, an addict, a widow in mourning, and a City banker (no surprises there!)

Characters have a way of weaving themselves into me. Apparently my entire demeanor and behaviour shifts slightly when I work on a new piece. I become slightly "other". If the character is older than me, I find that my skin will dry up. If the character is unhappy, I find it hard to resist grazing on food all day. Some characters make me want to smoke, or to drink. Some make me sleep like a baby, others give me nightmares or nightsweats. Some make me want to dress up feminine, paint my mails, be sexy and playful. Others make me want to be alone. Some make me want to cry - constantly.

This new character I'm playing is called "The Woman". (None of the 4 characters have proper names.) I haven't made my mind up about her yet. She's a romantic, she's passionate, she's a bit of an obsessive... angel or demon?

Watch this space...