We got the get go from Central to move into a physical rehearsal room in early August. A momentous occasion! It was a move we had all been looking forward to for a long time - our stubborn perseverance envisioning this project in a live setting was coming to fruition.
The social distancing parameters, as well as applying to the audience, also were required amongst the performers, although CrushRoom was in a social bubble, our dramaturgy required a maintenance of social distancing and other safety principles (e.g. mask wearing) for both the COVID reality and our in-world dangers. Therefore, upon entering the physical space, we were ready to explore the limitations of the space with a directorial approach - the parameters were 2m between performers and 3m between the performers and audience. Understanding and enforcing these distances in the rehearsal space allowed us to practice audience interaction with the actual CPT guidelines - knowing these limitations allowed us to intertextually interweave the boundaries of fiction and reality. Utilising CPT allowed us, not to have a harsh dichotomy between worlds, but instead answers can be found in both ‘the reality of the spectators, in the ongoing aesthetic and ideological conflict rather than exclusively within the limits of the fictive universe (Kallenbach, 2018)
Once engaged in physical rehearsals, the dramaturgy we had meticulously established through ZOOM rehearsals became a solid and supportive framework for developing the script and music efficiently and to great promise. This was especially helpful as we only had 8 rehearsals together as a team. After the multiple script readings, we had discovered that the script was a fantastic base for CrushRoom members to emphasise their natural rapport and friendship, whilst inviting audience members to share in the comradery. Octavia and James had fronted bands together in the past, therefore, comfortable ‘banter’ was easily achievable once familiarised with the crucial plot points in the script. Before entering the space, Manda had run exercises where the performers would improvise in characters, either having a conversation or answering questions about their backstories. This exercise allowed us to enhance the characters ‘compressed/inner mental states’ (Kallenbach, 2018) (1) whilst discovering, as performers, how we were most comfortable performing physically and tonally.
Kallenbach, ‘The Theatre of Imagination: A Cultural History of Imagination in the Mind and on the Stage,’ Palgrave MacMillan, Denmark, 2018