An interview with the directors of Coming Up

1 October 2015

Coming Up directors, Brigid Larmour and Shona Morris, discuss the creative objectives of Watford Palace Theatre

“Over the course of two decades, our collaborations have evolved into a movement based approach to theatre making, to reflect our commitment to the power of collaboration and the shared imagination of performers, creatives and audience. Movement and acting and the way we produce our plays are integrated.

Watford Palace Theatre produces theatre that is open hearted and socially aware and entertaining, and our work together sits within this philosophy.

Movement expresses the heart and the want of the character through action. It carries a story with power and immediacy, without high concept and high tech production styles. The actor is the heart of the work.

We work with our designers and collaborators to create a unified stage space that can serve as a playground to respond imaginatively to the text, in which we evolve the world of the play. The rehearsal process involves asking questions about place and character which we solve dynamically and physically. We have found that these solutions carry the action forward like a piece of music and we use the language of music and dynamics to make our work.

We like it when the audience sees movement and action as one thing, because it is the story we want them to experience.

We seek to place the actors in a magic space of possibilities which they change by the way they use the space, and in which they transform from character to character in full view, like turning on a sixpence. Music and lighting, therefore, don’t direct the audience what to feel, as in a film, but take their place alongside the acting and movement to create the world of the play.

This world is created by the ensemble in front of you. We use the principles of Chorus/Ensemble based acting to change the space, instead of changing the set. This chorus work can create metaphor and meaning, a group of performers alive and in the moment to express a shared idea or collective response.

So we enjoy taking you out of naturalism.

The world of the play that we create serves the text, the words and the ideas in the plays we are lucky enough to work on. We work closely with the writers to make sure their meaning is carried through the physical work we do. We believe that taking the text as a starting point, and finding the theatrical language it offers us without distorting its meaning, is a powerful way of approaching new text based writing. New writing is not always naturalistic, and we need varied approaches to explore the complexity of ideas it can (and should) provoke in audience and actor alike.

We celebrate the creativity of our writers, performers and collaborators: theatre is a shared conversation and we are proud to be part of it.

“No attempt is made to put the stage (and audience) in a trance” Brecht.”

Brigid Larmour and Shona Morris

September 2015