Rehearsal Diary: Kevin Elyot’s – Coming Clean
Trainee Resident Director Alex Hick shares his rehearsal diary for the West End transfer of Kevin Elyot’s Coming Clean.
How do you return to a play after 18 months? How do you bring a new actor into a cast? We begin at the deep end, plunging the actors into a full run of the show. This is a great opportunity for everyone to flex their acting muscles and to work with a new actor in the play. It allows us to see what we need to focus on for the week – we look at the big picture before then getting out the microscope.
We worked in the moments of intimacy in the play with our movement director, Jess. We looked at how each moment of intimacy is about conflict – we used contact improvisation to explore the sharing of weight between the two actors and the dynamics in their relationships. The intimacy between the men is integral to the play and, as it is the first time this seminal gay play is being presented in the West End, it is important to render each moment truthfully.
This rehearsal involved an aerobics class, a political rally and a waltz! We worked through the text with the actors using exercises to explore the scenes. Each exercise uses the dialogue of the play but changes the context to highlight and explore a certain dynamic between characters. A gossip between two friends becomes a waltz – finding moments in their conversation where one character is leading and the other following.
We worked through scene changes with Jess. We began by sketching out each change practically, working through which props needed to be set for each scene. We looked at how each scene change could be used as a tool to further tell a story and to prepare the audience – transitioning them into the mood of the next scene.
Our final day was spent working on rhythm and tempo – finding the gearshifts in the play. We finished by presenting a full run of the show to an invited audience. Having a supportive audience was invaluable for the actors, it gave them the opportunity to really play and tell the story to a fresh pair of ears. It has been such an exciting week – we break for Christmas and return next year at Trafalgar Studios!
Published in Collaboration with King’s Head Theatre
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