By Assistant Director, Myles O’Gorman.
On our lunch break last week, we had a really eye opening chat about process. I learned from Hester and Nicki that sometimes when developing a piece like this, a cross between live art and theatre, the process can be between twelve weeks to two years. The process is detailed and corrective, always inventing, devising and editing.
We’ve got four weeks.
So we’ve set ourselves the task of working on fifteen pages a week. But we’ve found it’s always worth sitting with any questions we have. By this point in rehearsals we’ve sat with the text, with what we hope to achieve, and that also means sitting with any problems we want to solve in the rehearsal room. In the space we’ve cultivated, there’s no rush. Thinking time is essential. It’s refreshing to trust that we have the time to give this piece and its themes the space it deserves.
Early on in week two we had lots of questions inspired by one section in particular, mostly about the careful line between the politics of something in a text, and the politics of the artists creating and performing it. Not just with this piece, but with theatre in general. How do we deal with the presence of the far right in Trainers? How far do we want to bring that presence out? Do we risk giving birth to something that infringes on the safe space we want to create? Or do we have a responsibility to represent the real dangers that the far right represent, especially for the trans and queer community. And how do we recognise our own positions as artists with the privilege to tell this story?
We wanted to follow this thread of thinking. It’s a bit like chasing a rabbit down a rabbit hole. You might find this one rabbit difficult to track down, but as soon as you find where it’s coming from, suddenly a hundred other rabbits are revealed. Having questions can turn into something wonderful, something complex, and something crucial for letting the piece say what it wants to say. So often theatre, and creating a piece of theatre, feels like such a rush. But maybe taking time to think can be the most efficient and nuanced course of action.
This week has therefore led to some truly exciting discoveries. My mind continues to be blown by this process. I’m trying to avoid any spoilers, but there’s a moment at the top of part three when everything falls into place: a moment that feels earned and feels risky and new. It’s a moment that seems most like a naturalistic “play”, but here it feels mind bogglingly experimental. It’s as though we’re seeing a world and style we so often see on stage but from a completely different lens, a lens that makes naturalism seem fake and forced and without foundation.
Hester summed it up best on our group Whatsapp (really week two has been all about the Whatsapp, and cute dog pictures):
‘Oh deffo. Nothing weirder and more out there than seeing people pretend they’re other people in another place!’
Don’t miss Trainers in our theatre from 27 Feb – 21 Mar. Book now.