Hi everyone, this is Haylin, the assistant director for The Ridiculous Darkness. It’s been 2 exciting weeks since our last blog, and lots of things have happened and emerged in the rehearsal room. By the end of the 3rd week, we’ve had 2 run-throughs. Already we can see a scary-fun production with lots of thought provoking moments!
For these 2 weeks, more and more creatives joined our rehearsal room. The Ridiculous Darkness is originally written as a radio-play, so sound is an important element in the story telling. Our sound designer Max has spent several sessions with us. In one session, the whole cast and I spent an hour recording a few seconds of a hymn. Every detail matters! As an audience, you can expect a colourful range of sounds that carry you through different places–sound of the streets in Mogadishu, Somalia, the sound of the army camp, the sounds of the storm in the depth of the wilderness, the sound of shrieking animals… sounds that will scare you with the unknown and tickle you with the familiar.
Our movement director Seke also joined some sessions and has worked out two dances of completely different styles. Observing him working with the cast and director, I was once again fascinated by how accurate and imaginative movement directors choreograph. In this production, Shannon needs to perform several different characters. For each character we went through a character exercise. It involved finding three basic adjectives to describe them, and then putting them all in different places of the character’s body. I noticed that this technical approach to character work creates a safe space for actors to explore some of the more emotional backstory elements of the characters.
We also started to work on the transitions between scenes since the first run through. The play is structured as a series of stories told as part of the ‘adventure’ narrative of the piece. So we needed to find quick ways to move between these different moments.
I’ve always found designing transitions as one of the most challenging task of a director. But with a clear theme in mind and an enthusiastic team of sound, light, stage designers and stage manager, lots of interesting ideas come to our mind in our discussion. We want to use the transitions to create a sense of time passing and draw as much inspirations as possible from film language – given that the play riffs on Apocalypse Now.
The flowing energy of the piece as a whole is already quite tangible when today Max played out the soundtracks that connect each moment. And when we move to rehearse at the Gate Theatre, we’ll finally add more elements into play. I can’t wait to see the world of the play completely brought to life! It’s really exciting to see how this profound and humorous radio play is unfolding in such an all-encompassing way.
There are just so many surprises in the play that I have to keep as a secret. The journey into the wilderness is also a journey to find the most obscure reality of ourselves. Before the rehearsal Anthony told me he wants the audience to be scared, and wants the audience to laugh as well. I can see this is being achieved in the process, and see this confirmed by the artistic director Ellen and photographer who recently just visited our rehearsals. In so many moments they were genuinely startled and amused! Come and see it for yourselves – we open next week!
The Ridiculous Darkness plays from 27 February – 23 March