Assistant Director, Britny Virginia gives us an insight into the Kerbs rehearsal process.
Haven’t we all tripped over a kerb (or two) at least once in our lives?
Okay maybe it’s just me but this is not the type of kerb I’m referring to today.
I’m referring to the trailblazing play written by Michael Southan who was a part of Graeae’s, ‘Write To Play’ programme and directed by the fierce Nickie Miles-Wildin.
Taking inspiration from his own life as someone living with a physical impairment, Southan beautifully tells the heart-warming story of young love, independence, disability politics and relationships. It is fun, witty and emotionally moving. The play is determined to lift false narratives and perspective of disability and the disabled community.
The cast includes the talented-headstrong trio of: Maya Coates, Jack Hunter, and Rekha John-Cheriyan. As the assistant director, I get to witness the hard work and passion poured into this dynamic piece of theatre by all those in the rehearsal room.
Week 1 of rehearsals consisted of gruelling text work as Nickie tasked the cast with understanding the intentions beneath the characters words and actions. This helped the actors embody the emotional journeys of each character when it came time to perform a rough staging of the scene.
Thursday saw the cast delving into movement work and growing the physicality of the characters with Nickie and our movement director Angela Gasparetto. This was an exciting time for the cast as they had been focused on textual criticism for the first few days. This led to creating more tension within the scenes and raising the stakes of the characters. The day ended with more text work as the cast cooled down from all their movement work. Photos for the opening scene of the play were also taken which was a fun addition to rehearsals.
The week ended with more text work and one to one character work with the actors and Nickie.
A lot has happened in the space of 1 week but there is so much to go as we end rehearsal on the 25th February and the show opens on the 26th February 2022!
This is sure to be a legendary show!
Have you got your tickets yet? Find more about the Kerbs tour and ticketing here.
Hope you enjoy these weekly blog posts!
And share the Kerbs’ love with someone you love!
See you at the end!
Intimacy exploration, costume fittings, and a full run through on a GORGEOUS SET created by the phenomenal Amanda Mascarenhas.
The second week of rehearsals started with a marvellous BANG!
I am learning so much from director Nickie Miles-Wildin from staging, to blocking and running a rehearsal room smoothly.
It’s been great being under her wing and seeing it all come to life, from paper to stage!
The cast are getting more and more synchronised with their characters and the seams are coming together!
At the beginning of the week, Nickie took the actors through line adaptations, strengthening character objectives and the barriers that face the characters in achieving those objectives and being present with the character’s emotional journey.
The cast staged the first half of the play in the beginning of the week and worked tirelessly to learn their lines. Which was an immense achievement despite the usual challenges faced in rehearsing a touring production.
Nickie then challenged the actors to do a deep dive in discovering the character’s internal and external conflicts and the pros and cons of their personalities.
Later in the day movement director Angela Gasparetto, enlisted the cast to walk around as their character, showcasing different emotions and the character’s physicality as they went.
A playful and useful prompt facilitated by Angela, was for the actors to choose a particular line within the play and find a gesture that went along with that line. The actors had to perform extreme responses with that gesture and chosen line. It enabled the actors to differentiate their characters from themselves and grow in their impulses.
Getting the actors warmed up and blood flowing was an essential part of the beginning part of each day since the rest of the day was heavy in building the story further.
Mid-week the set was delivered and the actors went through costume fittings. This was very exciting and made all the hard work and festivities feel more eminent and deeply worth it.
Nickie, stage manager, Ella Stewart and I had production meetings as the team finalised the graphic design, quos for the sound design and programming the tour’s schedule.
We concluded the week with Nickie and I having fun recording the zoom party with the elder group at the Belgrade (very ecstatic to have our singing featured in the play!)
The team and I are working to the best of our ability to wow our audiences and make this show a success!
I can’t wait for you to experience this timeless love tale!
Don’t delay in getting your tickets! The show is drawing near and it is one not to miss! Find more info about the Kerbs tour and ticketing at https://graeae.org/our-work/kerbs/
P.S. I’ll be one of the lead facilitators alongside the amazing Miss Jacqui coordinating and delivering interactive and stellar (if I do say so myself) Kerbs workshops.
Will we see you there?
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS, BABY!
EIGHT DAYS LEFT!
Can you believe it!
I could have sworn rehearsals just started and now with a blink of an eye we are nearly at the end!
With only 8 days of rehearsals left until the show opens on the 26th February, Nickie and the team are crunching down on the minor details!
As you theatre lovers know, the magic of the story is in the details.
The story is enhanced by the specifics. Like the impact in a subtle eye twitch or the intensity of slow rhymed breathes or the wild ride in a character’s thought process in span of 3 seconds — and this is precisely what director Nickie Miles-Wildin is aware of and aims to deliver — a play PUNCHED with intentionality and detailing.
Nickie along with movement director Angela Gasparetto dedicated much time with the cast in refining the intricate subtle details of text, intention, movement and vocal warm ups.
Sound designer Charlotte Barber was in the room too as the cast spotted blocking and timings of each scene. It was very useful to have music and sound part of rehearsals which made the beats easier to remember (and perhaps maybe a couple dance breaks from me – shush don’t tell Nickie!).
When rehearsing the truthfulness of the sexuality and disability scene— Charlotte composed this beautiful musical sequence that perfectly fit the moment. It is honestly such a powerful moment cultivated by Nickie, Angela and the cast! It is sure to bring lucky audiences to tears! Every moment the scene runs in rehearsal, it is like the first time.
And for me, when a story I’ve seen time and time again can make me feel like it’s my first time watching it, that is ACE!
Continuing in the theme of the importance of details, Nickie, Angela and the cast laid down the foundation and ease of transitions between scenes. Transitioning is possibly one of the hardest parts of rehearsals especially when considering the number of cast members and the number of scenes changes at a time. But the team and Nickie are executing this with precision and poise which is aimed to keep our audience engaged and electrified throughout the entire show!
The lighting and production designer Josh Pharo joined us in rehearsals at the end of the week as he finalised text sequences and worked with our captioner on how lights and text will be projected on the set.
I had the privilege this week of helping to create dating profiles for the show which was very fun to say the least!
Throughout the week minor script adaptations were put into place with our visually impaired audiences in mind. I enjoyed seeing how Nickie paid careful attention to meeting the needs of every audience member to ensure they enjoyed this story thoroughly without missing out on any details.
The week ended with a Saturday rehearsal and evening rehearsal on Thursday night as the cast ironed out the specifics in preparation for tech next week!
With one more week to go, we are looking forward to enjoying this show with you!
Are you looking forward to it?
Hurry and get your tickets before it’s too late! Purchase yours here!
Your favourite A.D.
Lights, Camera, ACTION!!!
We’ve hit the ground blazing through the Midlands with a stellar cast and an even stellar show never quite done like this before!
With audio descriptions reigning throughout, creative captioning beautifully displayed, an adaptable set and musical classics to get you grooving in your seats!
This is a one of a kind projection and one to go down in the history books of disabled artistic excellence!
All the hard work and effort displayed by our team from the actors, to the technicians, creative team and our director, Michael Southan’s play about disability, romance and relationships has stolen the hearts of our Coventry and Liverpool audiences and soon to do the same to those in Doncaster, Scarborough and Plymouth!
During the show’s run in Coventry we got many positive and constructive feedbacks. One being a review by Sophie Eaton on the West End Best Friend website, which says, ‘This wonderfully inclusive show caters for all needs…truly one of a kind… [and] in the words of Lucy and David (who make many hilarious wheelchair puns throughout) – “you’re in for a smooth ride!”’
Our audiences got a chance to write love letters to whom or whatever they wished in connection to our Kerbs Workshops (which I will be facilitating alongside Miss Jacqui)! Some letters were addressed to teddy bears, friendships, partners and any lucky reader who would be encouraged to carry on!
Our audiences are so creative and it was such a pleasure to see our love letter box being filled as many people left the theatre with floods of joy and cheer!
We want to say a big thank you to everyone who was a part of this creative process. No role is too small or too insignificant! Without the support of everyone, this show wouldn’t be the heartthrob that it is!
My experience as the A.D on this project was one I would have never predicted. It taught me so much about myself and ignited a passion within me to see artists flourish and platform amazing voices of social and psychological change!
I really respect director Nickie for her trust in me, respect and easing me into this role. Each week was a new challenge but a new opportunity to grow and she fostered a safe space to allow me to grow within the role without judgement.
I am honestly amazed at what the team was able to accomplish in such a small space of time. All of the team were eager to get the job done to the best of their ability! The team was incredibly flexible to whatever difficulties arose during the process.
The lighting, video and creative caption designer Josh Pharo and sound designer Charlotte Barber made every effort to accomplish the vision that Nickie had and did so with grace and precision.
Amanda Mascarenhas, the set designer created a beautiful/versatile set and did all she could to add adaptations and additions without even a blink of an eye.
Ella Stewart, the stage manager was a total rock star in how she tackled each task with a fierce and cheerful attitude.
Michael, the writer, Nickie, the director and Ola Animashawun, the dramaturg, worked the midnight oil to fine tune the wonders of this play.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt is that collaboration is key. There are a variety of creators and each voice is incredibly valued, important and essential to the process of any production. No job is taken lightly and that makes me extremely happy and grateful to be working in the arts.
I especially loved being a part of a project that was so devoted to accessibility and to witness how feasible access can be when the effort is put in.
And I look forward to creating more accessible work in the near future!
Thank you once again to everyone who supported this production!
Hope you’ve enjoyed these blogs as well!
And hey, maybe next time you see a post from me, it’ll be for my own directorial debut!
If you haven’t gotten your tickets you can do so at Graeae.org.
And don’t forget to write your love letters after or before the show! We want to hear from you! And who knows, maybe some of your letters will be showcased during our online exhibition!
A.D. Britny Virginia