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The Package by Tam Hinton

September 2009Director: Chris BridgmanDramaturg: Maeve Larkin

Before the workshop I wanted to:

1. See how the material stood up to rehearal with actors not used to my own production style
2. Work with director and dramaturg to script-edit the piece, reworking it based on what we discovered
3. Gain professional feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the piece
4. hopefully showcase the work to influential people who may be interested in taking it further, and
5. Put on a show!

Aims 1,2,3 and 5 were achieved brilliantly. Whether or not influential people were present in the audience, I still do not know.

In one sense, the most fruitful aspect was the end result - an evening where an audience enjoyed the work, and a group of great actors got to do their thing. It was also an excellent experience to collaborate with a group of creative people on a project, gaining many insights into the piece and into my own and others' working methods. I emerged with greater confidence in the play.

I found the whole experience to be overwhelmingly positive. NWP appear to be a group of people genuinely excited about new styles of writing, about new ideas, and about pushing boundaries and trying new things. A rare quality, it seems, in the current epoch.  A really professional and approachable organisation.

I thought the whole thing came together spiffingly, although I may have just looked dazed on the night. Everyone concerned was really up for it and the environment was energetic and positive - which is a new one on me, who is used to working in an atmosphere of frenetic desperation. It's good to know that an insane atmosphere can be conveyed in a show, without having to actually become mentally ill in rehearsals.

Likewise it was instructive to watch Chris at work. It's interesting to see how a show can be directed to be fast and dynamic without the director having to be egotistical or manic. All in all my impression was of lightness of touch allied to humour and enthusiasm.

So there you go, all the actors were great the director was great and Maeve Larkin is also a wise and inspiring presence. I could go on...

Now I have to retool the damned thing again and find someone crazy enough to put it on.

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