…Theatre is most of all about going into the dark: to be enthralled, frightened and moved; so there has to be a huge animal unconscious below and above the text, shifting and surprising us each time we venture in to read, rehearse or watch the play.Charlotte Keatley
You’ve decided to act out a scene or perhaps you have a production to stage or you have to do a scripted performance. Where do you start? What’s the difference between devising a performance and performing someone else’s words?
Your starting point is looking at the script. Take your instructions from there.
You’ll be given the dramatis personae or cast list. Generally that will include a brief note, indicating any crucial contextual details such as a character’s age and their profession.
The cast list from Charlotte Keatley’s play, My Mother Said I Never Should, looks like this:
Born: Oldham, February 1900. Engaged 1923, married Jack Bradley in Oldham, 1924. (Age 5 in child scenes, as in 1905)
Born: Cheadle Hulme, April 1931. Married Ken Metcalfe in London, 1951. (Age 9 in child scenes, as in 1940)
Born: London, July 1952. (Age 9 in child scenes, as in 1961)
Born: Hulme, Manchester, September 1971. (Age 8 in child scenes, as in 1979)