In the second week we began to
shape and form the play still further whilst rehearsing
scenes we had now written out. About half way through
this second week we had a full script - all that was
left was to rehearse and perfect this for performance!
In the third week we presented
four performances of what had now become "A Mother's
Voice".Working in this intense fashion produced
a remarkably powerful performance that moved and affected
all who saw it. Many left the theatre in tears.
It was a remarkable experience
for all concerned. The process of rehearsal produced
a real sense of engagement and involvement from the
students and many found a depth to their performances
that they had not tapped before. It was a great way
for them to finish their course.
Of all my plays, A
Mother's Voice, is the
one that I am most pleased with to date. It does, however,
require more than a simple translation of the script
from page to stage in order to make it work. As a final
performance piece I had to ensure there were opportunities
for students to explore their "specialisms".
Therefore, aswell as characters to develop, there are
many opportunities for movement, music and dance along
the way. On the page the script can look a little stark
- it is only through performance that the full richness
of it can be discovered. The expression is poetic at
times and the action moves from the realistic to the
surreal. The characters are emblematic rather than fully
rounded - though the performance of the central characters
requires considerable commitment and understanding if
the emotional core of the piece is to be exposed.
There are some terrific theatrical
moments in the piece - such as the bringing in a the
father's body held high above the heads of the crowd;
Constantia's dreams of the land of the dead; Baptista
and Ernesto discovering each other as the washing lines
lift to become the flags at the festival and the search
of the mother for her missing daughter mirrored by scenes
of what her daughter is enduring. And yes - even in
all this - there is still room for comedy in the gossiping
of the villagers and the taunting of the local heart
throb by the more knowing factory girls!
A Mother's Voice can be
set anywhere in the world but was originally written
against a quasi central/south American background. The
breathy Andean pipe music certainly added to the
haunting quality of the piece.