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Rose: In Rehearsal

With a new production of Martin Sherman’s Rose due to appear on our stage later this month, star and iconic actor Dame Janet Suzman is currently deep in rehearsals for this intimate and epic tale of one woman’s life. Assistant Director Sam Ward reports back from the rehearsal room…

The funny thing about doing a two hour long, one-person show is that you seem to spend a long time talking about not the lines. Or rather, you spend a long time talking about the space between the lines. Between the thoughts. You spend time weighing and judging and measuring the forces and mental twists that guide the character from one thought to the next. You build up maps and webs and logical guides that flutter in between the words, that support all the text without ever becoming obviously tangible to the viewer. Janet calls them sinews. I like that word. I like the way it sounds. Sinews between the thoughts, she says. I think it describes it very well.

And it makes you think, or at least it makes me think, about our own sinews. Our own strategies and jumps we make between thoughts. It makes me think about the idiosyncratic shifts my mind makes between the thoughts I have. Those shifts are unique to me. The patterns they form, the shapes they take and the jumps they make are determined by my past and by my memories. Getting to grips with the nature of the sinews between thoughts gives you an insight into the character of that person. It gives you an insight into their memories which ultimately determine their self-constructed identity. How we think is a window into who we are.

So by working out the sinews that guide Rose through the narrative of her life, we are actually discovering and constructing Rose as a real, creative entity. By unfolding and discovering how Rose thinks we are finding out who she is. We are letting her speak to us in an authentically idiosyncratic way.

Biologically speaking, sinews are the tough tissues that connect our muscles to our bones. They are the plaster between the building blocks of our bodies. I can’t think of a better word to describe the incredible work Janet has done so far in connecting the muscles of thoughts to the bones of sentences, sewing together the building blocks of a fascinating, funny and loving Rose.

Rose is showing from Thu 25 May – Sat 10 Jun. Find out more and book tickets here.

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