Halfway house: The mid point of Forever House rehearsals

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.

Tom (Mark) hangs out with his pals at the lab
Tom (Mark) hangs out with his pals at the lab

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.

Glenn with his writing partner, Wilf the whippet

Glenn with his writing partner, Wilf the whippet

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!

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4 Responses to Halfway house: The mid point of Forever House rehearsals

  1. Gary Williams says:

    Hiya, I very rarely go to theatre but, as a born and bred Plymothian, I was intrigued by the publicity and decided to give it a go. I’ve heard that watching plays in the Drum can be a ‘hit or miss’ experience but I have to say I was absolutely delighted by the whole experience. A fantastically engaging play, that made me laugh, feel nervous and sympathetic. The actors were excellent and I felt part of the whole thing. If that was your first play then I’ll be looking forward to your future ones.

    • Hi Gary! Thanks for your message – I’m glad you enjoyed Forever House. I’ll pass on your comments to the cast and production team. The Drum Theatre usually produces 1 or 2 plays a year and we co-produce with lots of other companies as well as welcoming touring productions. The work in the Drum is always of outstanding quality but enormously varied so I expect that’s where the ‘hit and miss’ reputation comes from – what one person didn’t like, another will have enjoyed immensely – opinions are subjective! I do hope that your experience of Forever House will encourage you to visit us again. The Theatre Royal is closing from 12th April for five months but we are running a programme of work at TR2 our production and education centre – see our website for details http://www.theatreroyal.com/summer2013 Thanks again! Laura

  2. David Hughes says:

    First visit to the Drum at the invitation of my daughter so I didn’t know what to expect on a bitterly cold Easter Monday night. I had no preconception of the subject matter of Forever House, apart from the obvious, it was a historical piece set in the same house. The impact of the set was startling, an impressive Rachel Whiteread inspired concept with lovely subtle details, including in the first act the paper lampshade…as replicated in my daughter’s rented Plymouth flat! The play was intelligent, witty, provacative and at times sailed close to the wind of my own experiences and perfectly timed. I don’t know how tricky it must be performing as an actor in such an intimate space, with just the two of you on stage at any one time, but I thought Joana Nastari’s subtle performance was totally convincing. Bravo!

    • Hi David – Thanks for taking the time to comment on our blog and share your thoughts on Forever House. I’m really glad you enjoyed it and I will pass on your comments to the cast and crew, it’s always great to get feedback, good or bad. Hope to see you here again soon!

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