Actor Nanou Harry (left) shares her thoughts on the first week of Finding Joy rehearsals
Five days ago I arrived in Worcester from London to start something completely new for me: this is the first time I'll have worked with full masks like the ones Vamos Theatre uses. From day one I feel in good hands: Rachael knows where she wants to take the play and is surrounded by a very dynamic and talented team. I soon learn more about masks: the need to be more precise and direct as to where I look while not compensating so much with the body and keeping the stream of thoughts alive. I spot some challenges I will need to be vigilant about: I see on the video the mask dies as soon as it goes full profile and Rachael speaks a lot about clocking the audience, which is very new to my practise.
I discover two of my parts (Old Joy, a delicate lady of 83 and Matty, an aggressive, tormented soul) and the various worlds of the play (the 30s, 50s, Leeds, Grimsby, dementia, drugs...). I start experiencing things about Old Joy: her dementia that's putting her mind into other worlds and how terrifying it can be. I sometimes close my eyes behind the mask to be more sensitive and receptive to my environment. In addition to the mask technique, I learn from watching Simone and Mark work: both of them have studied clown with Philippe Gaulier. My colleagues are wonderfully creative and playful and the group feels very strong and dedicated. On the last day, the whole design team is here: sound, light, set... All these creative minds are adding layers over the work we have produced in four days: nearly the full length of the show! The days went so quickly. I am looking forward to carrying on with it in December. I can imagine how fun and detailed the scenes will be and look forward to discover the full story of this family and the changes that will have to happen for these characters from the beginning to the end of the slice of life the play covers.
Nanou Harry, Friday, November 9th 2012.