Some delightful visits took place in the Bootycandy rehearsal room this week!
Week 2 of our process was all about Act I. Each session entailed breaking down the emotional journeys and storytelling elements of each scene, and then GETTIN’ ON UP! The initial transition from text-work to physically staging a scene can often be a bit daunting, but once our cast found their sea legs it made for a touching, fun, harrowing, wild ride in their discoveries of character and narrative as we mapped their journeys throughout the space. Tristan’s blocking is playful, direct and pacey — a great match to punctuate Bootycandy’s many vignettes with style.
This work was aided by drop-ins from Raniah Al-Sayed, our intimacy coordinator, and Wabriya King, our dramatherapist. With Raniah the entire cast was able to establish a consent-informed language to work off of when intimacy is involved in some scenes, and generally in relation to physical contact onstage. She also helped us choreograph specific sections in a particularly juicy and emotionally ferocious scene halfway through the act. Raniah gave the whole room a refreshing lesson in providing actors with the agency to make their own decisions about their physical boundaries, and some new decompression tactics to help the cast process the leftover adrenaline of performing such an animated and often morally challenging text. It’s such a privilege to have dedicated time to focus on intimacy abstraction; now that the base is in place, we’re able to move forward with momentum, clarity and security.
I’d love to tell you all about what Wabriya brought to the room in her therapy session as I’m sure it was incredibly valuable, but creatives weren’t invited (rightly so!) as the actors have an independent relationship with her for their emotional health and sustainability throughout the process. Having spent a bit of time in the rehearsal room with Wabriya at the end of the week, it was very exciting to witness the intersections between drama therapy and directing. The insights Wabriya is able to provide on the relationship between the body’s response to certain emotions and bringing a text to life definitely enriches our scene work: “if you speak to your body, it will reward you.”
By the end of this week we were able to lay down the foundations of our initial act and stumble through the entire first half of the play! This was a very promising development with only two weeks to go before tech rehearsals begin. We’re all so excited to share our genre-hopping whirlwind with you.
Book now for Bootycandy. 13 Feb – 11 Mar. Tickets from £12.
Tatenda Shamiso is a theatre-maker, director, writer, and musician with origins from Zimbabwe, Belgium, the United States and Switzerland. He is also a scholarly researcher in Afrofuturism. and its potential to deconstruct and rebuild our notions of gender, space, and time. Central to Tatenda’s work are themes of community, identity, and joy within diaspora. (he/him)