5 Lessons from the Rehearsal Room - National Theatre Wales

5 Lessons from the Rehearsal Room

June 23, 2021

Hello everyone!

My name is Carmen Diana Almeida and I am the Creative Placement on Possible, a new show by Shôn Dale-Jones that will premiere online this June. In this blog post, I hope to give you an insight into how we’ve been developing the show in rehearsals. Working in a pandemic has been a challenge, but a wonderful surprise at the same time. Here’s what I’ve learnt from being part of the rehearsal process:

Be open for the script to change.

Many, many times! As many as needed. I’m writing this on our break between rehearsals and tech week, revisiting my notes and past versions of the script, and realising how much Possible has changed since the first draft. That’s what rehearsals are about. It’s a time to really get to know the material you have, the message you want to communicate and the atmosphere you want to create.

Live streaming uses a new language.

We have the privilege of having a wonderful team with professionals from very different industries including theatre, music and film working together. It was very important for all of us to combine our knowledge to create a really immersive experience, where the audience can always connect with the narrative. We’ve learnt a new language and way of working. It is not theatre, it is not film, it is something new that blends the two. 

Mistakes accelerate the process.

For the first two weeks of rehearsals we were working with a different set, different stage movements and a different storyboard. The first day RED 90 came into the rehearsal room with their cameras, we realised it wasn’t working at all. It was time to get rid of some elements of the set and overcomplicated sequences and start the storyboard again, from the beginning. Thankfully, these changes could be implemented quickly and a new way of working found to best serve the production.

Production meetings are essential.

To be honest, none of us are fans of production meetings, especially on Friday evenings. Needing to stop and organise a schedule doesn’t feel like the most appealing thing when you’re busy creating, but it is so important! The production and stage management team have been incredible in keeping time, organising the rehearsal process and reminding us to take a break. 

Vulnerability leads to creativity.

It is been great to feel that the rehearsal room is a safe space to explore the topics in the show: love, family, mental health, intimacy, covid, and more… A few tears have been shed but there’s been lots of laughter too.  We’ve had to be open and willing to reflect on our own feelings to help tell Shôn’s story. A wide shot in a moment of loneliness; a change of light in a happy narrative; a melody that can take you back to some of your own memories; a change in the script that helps the audience to better understand Shôn’s inner world. Every little detail counts.

I’m ending this blog feeling very optimistic. We still have tech week to get through, but thankfully we ended the first part of the process with a very clear understanding of what Possible will be. We all have worked together to create a show that feels universal and uplifting. For the whole team this project has been a light of hope after a dark year for the arts industry – a little miracle that brings back the opportunity to connect with audiences again, and explore how this year has changed us.  

Carmen Diana Almeida

Find out more about Possible and book your tickets here.

Photos by Jorge Lizalde


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