What can I say about this week of rehearsals? I really can’t believe we’ve already created 45 minutes of material. It was another mad rush of getting the new material ready to show to our director, the very very talented Melinda Jean Ferraraccio.
“But wait,” you say, “you can’t have a director. I thought devised theatre was just a bunch of actors hanging out in a room playing around.”
The truth is that devised theatre can and often does make use of a lot of smart creative people like directors, writers, and designers. The difference is that devised work breaks down the traditional hierarchy. Mindy is coming into the process next week to aid us in making what we’ve created as clear and effective as possible. Although we’ve been working on our own for the first 54 hours, when she joins us we will consider her an equal collaborator. If you were to draw a picture of our hierarchy, it would be a straight horizontal line where everyone has an equal amount of power. Like this:
Or maybe it’s more of a circle. Like this:
Whereas this is what a more traditional theatre hierarchy might look like:
Sometimes as devisers we think we have to do everything on our own so that our show fits the purest definition of “devised.” One thing I’ve learned from making my own work over the past few years is that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. It’s about how you approach it that makes devising different and so worthwhile.