Discarded Nut Youth Theatre - Rehearsal Process
Discarded Nut Youth Theatre (DNYT) is a theatre company set up by Harriet Morris (Musical Director) and Noël Jones (Artistic Director) focusing on developing young actors into the actors they want to be. Harriet and Noël work hard with us throughout the year working on different aspects of performing and putting on a show.
When we first heard that DNYT would be auditioning for The Crucible I was intrigued as I had never seen a youth theatre put on such a challenging play before, however after being in the company this year I have realised that DNYT is no ordinary theatre company.
The audition process was a very enjoyable experience - I got to meet lots of people who were all very passionate about theatre. In the audition we did various movement exercises to show Harriet and Noël how we were physically as they knew how challenging the play was going to be for us. After that we all read in lines for parts we were auditioning for. Noël mixed up who auditioned together each time to see which people had chemistry on stage. I really enjoyed the audition as I got to meet my possible future cast members.
When I got the news that I had secured a place in the company I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to get started exploring my part and rehearsing for the play. The first term was all about character building and thinking about our parts. We were given a sheet all about our character to fill in. We filled it with information on how old they were; who their friends were; who they loved; who they hated; what sins they had committed (this was important because of how puritan the world the characters lived in was) and what they valued most in their life. We also wrote and performed a monologue talking to another character of our choice.
These things may have seemed a little tedious at the time as I was itching to get on with rehearsing the play however looking back on it now I understand that it has helped me portray my part more accurately and interestingly: When I'm with a character I know how to act around them and how to treat them as I understand their mind set. Now when I'm in a scene and it's to do with something I'm passionate about I know to act emotionally towards it. I don't think I would know any of this without all the character work Noël and Harriet did with us.
In term two it was all about getting closer with the cast. Being in a new cast and working on a new play is one of my favourite things as you work with new actors and get to meet new people all interested in the same thing as you: theatre. We played lots of different theatre games which were not only great fun, but improved our skills and our relationships with each other. They're almost like team building exercises as you are all slowly becoming more in sync with each other through working together to accomplish things. I have always loved theatre games and I think they are a great way to get to know each other which is very important if you are performing together. We also dove head first into the rehearsal process starting from the beginning running act one and going slowly through it over the coming weeks.
While the principals in act one were staging and rehearsing the first act, cast members who weren't in the first act, were in the room across from us learning the prologue working on movement to create a piece that would make a wonderful start to the play. The main challenge we faced throughout term two was people not knowing all their lines - The Crucible is a very meaty and challenging play to learn, it has a huge amount of lines even with cuts that were made and this means for a group of young actors to learn it is bound to cause some problems, however, since then, the issue improved greatly. The problem is that while using scripts in rehearsals, it makes it hard to properly get in your characters head space as you are very constricted. Although as all of us have come together so much over the last year I trust in my cast members to be line perfect in the show.
In term three it was all about finishing rehearsals. We were reasonably far through the play by now and were coming to the end and I think we all wanted to finish it off as soon as possible so we had enough time to get a few full run-throughs in before our first performance. We eventually did so and it became a time for polishing and improving, Noël gave us constructive comments on how to improve as a cast and as individuals. I always really enjoy the weeks coming up to a show as while it is sometimes stressful it is also very satisfying to see all the hard work you have put in throughout the year, come together to make a performance that we can all be proud of. In the last few weeks of the year we have been preparing for the show - doing run throughs with costume and set and it is all making me realise how close we are to the show. Honestly I can't wait until show week which starts on Wednesday 22nd July and ends on Friday 24th July. If you want to buy tickets you can here: www.discardednut.ticketsource.co.uk
I have loved my second year at DNYT even more than the first one and will definitely be returning next year if they will have me!