Yesterday, I sent out an email asking everyone if they didn't mind preparing a one hour session each, either developing on from our scratches, or moving onto something new. We all came into the rehearsal with very different ideas.
Molly's session was first and she wanted to revisit the opening scene from the scratch. It is a domestic setting where Ted interacts with his cheeky pet fish. Molly wanted to develop this 'daily routine' motif into three repeated scenes, with each one showing various stages of the disease. This worked quite well and we captured one really nice moment when Will, who is puppeteering his right arm, drops it, so it becomes lifeless and motionless. It had a rather moving impact that wasn't too subtle, but also not horribly 'in your face'.
After Molly's session, we moved onto mine. From reading my devising books yesterday that I got from the library, I created exercises for us to get used to the puppet and to also start thinking about his manipulation. I started by leaving the puppet in the middle of the stage and asking the puppeteers to come in one by one, and start animating him. This lead into me shouting out instructions like, "discover your face...your right hand...ribs etc". This 'discovery' from the puppet was quite touching, considering I know the outcome of his fate. To watch the puppet be born and discover each limb and body part was quite captivating.
We then moved onto the puppet being in the space, moving under, over, behind, at the centre, at the edge, under the feet, above the head...The flight and freedom here given to the puppeteers, created some really stunning moments and I could see potential, especially for the imagination moments. You can find a video here, showing a snippet of the exercise:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnNbaWWcnPc
We continued with exploring the puppet physically and with the puppet in the space. On a personal note, I thought, "Why are we doing this?" Here's the answer:
We need to develop the physical character of the puppet. BUT, we also need to develop a difference between the puppet in the 'external/reality' moments and the 'internal/imagination' moments.