HOW many drafts?!
A new play. An old story. So many versions and many different opinions.
So many options.
How on earth do you start?
Here's a timeline of our Orpheus development to date:
September 2016: discover the site and chat to the Bridge about what we want to do in the Vaults. Get inspired to create a production of Orpheus & Eurydice.
November 2016: after several more meetings we are given the 'go' for the production and begin planning, bringing creatives on board and holding an R&D to try out musical ideas for the show. We are limited by Hannah's availability - mixing teaching and about to embark on a national tour - so scheduling become an......adventure. Our writer Alison creates an outline/storyboard adaptation for the show.
December 2016: casting begins and completes. Advance tickets go on sale.
January 2017: General booking opens. We go through three drafts with Alison before settling on a rehearsal script. A first workshop/rehearsal week with the company takes place - we read the script, try out ideas for rituals, storytelling languages (speech vs dance), explore character, interpretations of the Underworld and staging ideas. We try these in the Vault and see what works, what doesn't......the acting company breaks until February when
rehearsals will continue...and we return to the script.
Meanwhile, Ellie continues to develop the musical score/storyline for the show, and Edmund creates a best-case-scenario technical plan of how we might add lighting and atmosphere. Sarah continues developing design ideas for costumes.
We take draft 8 of the script into the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School to hear the students read it and offer feedback - great for us to have fresh eyes and ears on it, great for them to take part in the development of brand new work. This is invaluable for us.
Now we will settle on draft number 9. This will be sent to the acting company to learn - along with vocal tracks and guitar lines - in advance of our next rehearsal.
Compared to many new productions, this timeline has been incredibly contracted. But sometimes necessity is the mother of invention: we have achieved so much in a very short space of time, and it is exciting to see a show very unlike Macbeth begin to emerge, yet clearly from the same family. Whenever we are in doubt, we return to the site - what is going to work best there? Anything else gets vetoed, cut or saved for a different show.
More will change when we come to stage the show in February, the acting company bringing their own spin to the words and the rhythms of the text, but for now we are nearing the end of a thrilling, rapid and inspiring journey discovering the voice of this unusual project.
Here's hoping you like it!