Since I was last with you, we’ve got a fair way into Forever House rehearsals. The play’s now up on its feet and we’ve moved our rehearsal room down to Plymouth for the final touches. The world of the play has come alive and we keep discovering more layers and complexities in this deceptively simple play. We’ve also discovered a binding love of Four Square, as both a warm up and a way of life.
Being in Plymouth has bought many pleasures, not least the feeling of authenticity as we hone accents and conduct more local research. Tom and Jo have had a tour of the Marine Biology Lab, thanks to the lovely Matt Hall, to help Tom get under the skin of his marine biologist character and both Becci and Dylan have had bona fide Plymothians record their lines to help them get that distinctive ‘Janner’ twang. As these preparations rumble on and the creative team begin to assemble in Plymouth, I thought I’d catch up with our writer Glenn Waldron to get an insight into the process from his point of view so far.
As a journalist by trade, Glenn has found the process of writing a play, and particularly the redrafting period, more vigorous and challenging than he at first thought. Although he hasn’t found the process of text analysis the easiest (eventing plays can be quite a mindbending process), it has helped him articulate what the play is about and to uncover a darkness in the script that has been revealed via the reaction and analysis of the others in the rehearsal room.
‘I was interested in the idea of the darkness that exists on the edges of small towns and cities such as Plymouth, the places that when you are an outsider you gravitate towards. The play is about the idea of how we connect (and reconnect) to a particular place or space and whether we are defined by those connections. I wanted to explore my feelings about my hometown – Plymouth has changed massively visually but in spirit I believe remains very much the same. When I return to Plymouth I feel like my 16 year old self and I imagine that is the same for many people with their hometowns’.
What is becoming clear as we rehearse is that, as much as the play is very specifically set in Plymouth, it chimes with many people’s experiences of their hometowns. The next step now is to put it in front of an audience and see what resonates for them. See you there!