Blog - RTYDS / Day 1: Names, Games and Directing

Yesterday we started Slate’s RTYDS-supported course for new directors in Sheffield town. We’ve seven people from near and far: Afreena Islam, Beverley Thomas, Gitika Buttoo, Humira Imtiaz, John Rwoth-Omack, Mathy Selvakumaran and Sui Anukka! The week-long course is led by fellow Enabler, and freelance Director Cheryl Martin. The morning’s weather cool and grey, was soon warmed up with vocal - movement games and play.

Participants first did some work on dreams, each writing about a recent or memorable dream.

Working in two groups, each group then selected someone to direct one of their chosen dreams working to different parameters: using only the word ‘No’; or no words at all.

In the afternoon we had a masterclass by Eclipse Theatre’s Artistic Director Dawn Walton.

After giving the group the lowdown on Eclipse (including the projects Rev Mix and Slate) Dawn set about her work.

The chair game: as we know, games form an important part of creativity, especially when working with actors for limbering up and providing focus by being immersed in something with a single objective. In our game: 8 people, 8 chairs scattered, 7 seated people, the person ‘on it’ walks to the empty chair, the others work as a team to stop them by sitting on it first, inevitably the empty chair changes all the time. This game is about sensory observation, speed and action. In order to be effective and stop the person from sitting down, the others need to work together as a team.

Dawn then spent some time highlighting the role of different perspectives in a play or characters’ viewpoints and talked about reading the play from each characters’ perspective in order to understand each individual journey, as the director’s job is to direct each journey.

She then went on to work with a scene from Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard in order to illustrate subtext looking at the characters Varya and Lopakhin whilst playing with staging. Before commencing the group went through the text to glean the facts and analysed whether the facts remained true under examination.

The second text the group unpicked was 93.2FM by Levi David Addai. Here they looked at actioning within a scene- the process of allocating an action or intention to each line or idea in a script I order to dissect it.

Quote of the day: “well written drama is full of obstacles”



Slate & Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme are running a week-long Introduction to Directing course in Sheffield for Black directors, 24-28 Jul 2017.