Truant cast member Claire McCracken begins a series of blogs about the rehearsal process for the show, directed by John Retallack, which opens in Penilee, Glasgow, 1st November and tours local venues througout the city until 19th November.
We’ll be uploading the rest of her rehearsal diaries all this week.
Truant: It’s a Group Collaboration
The journey of cutting, adding, rearranging and improvising en route to destination: exciting assortment of verbatim speeches, slices of drama and striking movement sequences – began with a meet n’ greet over a cuppa attended by the National Theatre of Scotland and friends, followed by a reading of the rehearsal draft.
The rehearsal draft intertwined ten verbatim speeches lifted from interviews with the people of Glasgow and ten snapshots of recognizable relational conflicts devised by us, the cast, during the April development week. Three of the scenes were brand new and inspired by a BBC3 documentary, featuring the bemusing phrase “Mad skank bop twist.” Our designer, Becky, talked us through the set model inspired by Leonard Cohen lyric “There is a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in”. Then it was over to movement director Janice who led us in a burst of good old ceilidh dancing. It is the National Theatre of Scotland, after all.
Day two brought a lot of discussion, devising, playing in and with the space, and a walk-through reading of the rehearsal draft, and by the end of the week all our fluid suggestions were poured into the mould ready to be established the following morning. The Scottish Youth Theatre building where we’ve been based was a bit of a maze at first, especially on the third day when we worked in a different space to accommodate the TPS Connect conference. It has a beautiful outside area where it’s easy to forget you’re in the centre of Glasgow.
By the end of the week I had experienced the full force of director John Retallack’s limitless creativity. He decided to set the Truant Girl scene on a beach, the nearest one to Glasgow. it would be “like Heathcliff on the moors”, said Fiona who features in the same scene, waiting for Cathy to do away with conventional society. Long after this direction was cut the thought remained, working its way beautifully into the second improvisation of the Truant Girl scene, because that was very much my character’s mind. “Sometimes I have to let go,” came the last words of the scene, prompting the reply “but you go too far”.
That’s what the first week has been about – finding the story together.
by Claire McCracken