Last December the first wonderful theatre to take me on as a budding artist-in-residence was Theatre Delicatessen in their new venue in an old Victorian library in Burgess Park. THANK YOU THEATRE DELI (www.theatredelicatessen.com)! They asked me to write a blog so I wrote it in rhyming Alexandrine couplets, because that is what the play I have translated is written in: Berenice by Jean Racine. French classical, and yet not so classical, feminist tragedy. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. And so do most French people. It needs to come to England in a big way and women everywhere will cry out: 'Oh me, oh my, it's so so relevant to today!'
Vivienne Gibbs and Rosie Hilal rehearsing in Burgess Park Dec. 2016
Photo credit: www.katherineleedale.com
' Day one was fun, we read the script, my translation
Of the best play I have read in the French nation,
Berenice it's called, and four great actors read it,
Cindy, Sarah, Sarah, and Viv ably said it.
Fortyfour pages in twelve beat rhyming couplets;
At the end our scripts were spattered in tea droplets.
Day two we did scene work with our tables and chairs
All scattered around the space as castles and stairs.
The actors used them to explore physical distance
And to see how much the text needed persistance.
We discovered the characters tread the bound'ry
Between the world of Gods and of reality.
Day three we took the scenes out onto the playground,
Where the actors played them out whilst running around,
And used the slides and frames as abstract depictions
Of the Roman Empire and the world of fiction.
We got cold and tired but Nick's brownies got us through.
(He makes them himself- I recommend them to you.)
Day four Viv brought her one-year-old daughter to us.
I'm glad to say Whinnie didn't make any fuss-
In fact she spurred creativity in the room;
Probably because she made us think from the womb?
We did a staged read-through indoors of the play.
(Only Sarah T missed out as she was away.)
Day five we warmed up and then did a big walk-through
Of the play in the playground, and Deli watched, too.
Roland, Emma and Lauren, who even read a line,
Said the ideas were cool and the work we did fine.