ANU’s Directing Intern Laura Bowler tells us all about how Angel Meadow has been coming along over the last week…
Most production meetings don’t get interrupted by a young woman bursting through the door shouting for help, but for those around the table who were familiar with ANU Productions it wasn’t a huge shock. Just a small part of the developing story of Angel Meadow. The young woman quickly put a stop to the note taking and the shop talk. She whisked her new audience away on a quick journey, out of the office and onto the streets. This is not an unfamiliar occurrence in the rehearsal room, conversations between colleagues can quickly turn into scenes and observing people working means you can suddenly find yourself the test audience for a daring new piece.
What’s interesting about the way ANU work, and particularly about this show, Angel Meadow, is how quickly things come together. A typical rehearsal day involves a brief meeting so everyone knows what their focus for the day should be, a specific task or two and then you sit back and watch how mountains of research and small ideas turn into characters, scenes and sometimes whole sections before your eyes.
This last week has had a lot to do with the body. Long warm ups before rehearsals ensure that no one hurts themselves and hopefully gets the cast ready for what looks like a very physically challenging show. Something that is really important to remember when developing high energy movement is whether or not the work will be sustainable. The show has a long run and not just one but a number of performances per day. They always have to think ‘can we do this long term?’ when developing something new and due to the care taken at this stage, the answer is usually yes.
Three of the lads (Eric, Jed and Tommo) have been hard at work this week creating movement that reflects characters they’ve been developing based on stories of old scuttling gangs. This week the guys have been slapping, punching, rolling, throwing and lifting to reflect the energy and dynamics of the men they want to portray. On more than one occasion observing has turned into being a test audience member! So whether you’re dragged into a tense game of pool, danced around the room or simply watched by a local in the pub I can honestly say its not for the fainthearted!
While the lads have been thrashing out fast paced high energy work, Dee (one of our other cast members) has been working hard at creating something out of nothing – literally! This week she’s been working with choreographer Emma O’Kane to develop an intimate dance with an invisible devil, something the audience will get to experience one to one. Dee manages to make you see what isn’t there through focused and deliberate movements. It leaves you wondering ‘could it actually be?’ and with the possibility of later running into the devil himself the stakes feel high in this piece.
Of course the movement work is just a small part of what has been achieved in the last few weeks and with more pieces developing on a daily basis Angel Meadow promises to be jammed packed and full of variety if the development period is any indication.
See you soon Manchester!