In this installment of China Chats, Jed Murray shares his enthusiasm for Made in China and the raucous, riotous rehearsal process.
So this is my first time writing a blog. I actually had to look up the definition. Apparently it’s just like a public diary entry ... so here goes.
I’m directing Made in China by Mark O’Rowe! Who happens to be my favourite contemporary Irish writer. The mind boggles. It’s an outrageous script with outrageous characters in outrageous situations. What am I doing?! Everyone involved is so clever! It’s all so complex! There’s a seven page fight sequence with three men, an umbrella, a baseball bat and a WHAT!? A PROSTHETIC LEG!? Help!
Thankfully we’ve approached this beast previously. We know where it lives. We know it’s general shape and make-up. But it’s important to me that we don’t just remount the same production as before. I know that the guys still have most of the play buried in their bodies and minds, (it’s only been a year) and we have a four week rehearsal period, which affords us the luxury of exploring characters physically before revisiting the script. So we had a blast, playing and fighting and being exhausted at the end of the day for the first week. Creating an intimacy and physicality that would, hopefully, seep into everything we did from then on.
And then I bust my knee. This is a Made in China/Corps Ensemble tradition. Last year Neill (Kilby) was operating on a dodgy knee also. But I find it difficult to sit down - I am always moving when I’m happy and I’m happiest when I’m in a rehearsal room with people creating shit. So I’m buzzing; I keep trying to get up and the lads keep on trying to get me to sit down! I think it amuses us all. (I hope! Hmm...)
Then we started focusing on the script. Wow! It’s just bonkers and bloody and beautiful. And with lovely rhythm and rhyming! And it’s so complex, deceptively so. So much fun to work on! It takes stamina and timing to do justice to this script.
Once we start putting it all together, the fun really begins. My knee is has improved enough to allow me to participate more fully, which leads to my favourite moment in rehearsals so far. I find myself (volunteer myself?) bent over with Kilby (Neill Fleming) smacking my arse as Paddy (Rex Ryan) spouts obscenities at me. Then they swap! In production this scene happens without an actual person onstage, but my actors lack imagination and said it would help them if I stood in for rehearsal purposes. ... I swear.
So, one more week of rehearsals to go! Who knows what might happen!
Jed signing out!