Welcome back to our production diary! This marks our fourth entry, and with rehearsals kicking off yesterday, it’s hard to put into words just how excited we’re feeling right now.
The Wetsuitman opens in exactly two weeks from today – have you got your tickets yet?!
If you’re catching up, our previous entries can be found here. For those joining us for the first time, we’re Camila and Trine, the creative duo behind Foreign Affairs, and through this diary, we share our adventures and misadventures from the previous week, giving you an exclusive peek behind the scenes of our work.
Last week was a mix of screen time (which has practically become synonymous with admin and marketing), sprinkled with pockets of creative work to prepare for next week’s rehearsals. In the middle of all this, we managed to find moments of inspiration to nourish our spirits. While early work hours persisted, Camila enjoyed daily trips to the beach, catching some family holiday time. As for Trine, visits to the theatre provided a much-needed break from the screen.
Postcard from Portugal
A week in the life of FA (aka Camila & Trine)
Let’s return to the original format for this recap – this week, even though there was still a lot of screen time, it was a bit more eventful.
- Monday: A day filled with PR & marketing tasks. Due to budget constraints, we’re handling this ourselves, a part of our work we have a love-hate relationship with. Especially as the opening night approaches! In the evening, Trine caught one of the shows at the Camden Fringe.
- Tuesday: A half-day with Maria, our engagement coordinator, along with a meeting with one of the panellists for our post-show talks. In connection with the show at Arcola, we’re thrilled to host a panel with charities and organisations working with migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in Hackney.
- Wednesday: Today our flyers and posters arrived (it’s all becoming so real now!). They turned out beautifully. We normally design our own flyers (or Trine that is), but this time we collaborated with the Arcola designer to ensure everything aligned with their guidelines. We’re so glad that we did. We might have ordered too many, though, and carrying one of the boxes from Dalston to Haggerston nearly killed Trine!
- Thursday: Another half office day with Maria (the virtual office, mind you) and we launched our workshop programme for young people. Since the pandemic, all of our productions have been accompanied by a theatre-making workshop programme. In the evening, Trine caught Union at the Arcola (mixing pleasure with work, checking out studio 2)
- Friday: More PR tasks, as we wrapped up a few content pieces scheduled for release next week (brace yourselves, it’s going to be big!) This took up most of the day.
- Saturday: The hard work on PR paid off – we were invited for a brief live radio interview with Hoxton Radio and featured in a short profile piece for London Love London Culture (an online magazine). We also grabbed a pocket of time to finalise preparations for rehearsals starting Monday (yikes!)
So, another busy week – the final, intense phase of admin, marketing and pre-production before rehearsals kick off. Lots of time was dedicated to PR and marketing tasks, and there were moments when we wished we had an extra pair (or two) of hands to assist, but never mind! While we can’t quite claim to have achieved perfect balance, we made sure to carve out time away from screens to seek inspiration.
Some thoughts on our creative process
This week, we were asked about why we chose this play, and a major reason, besides the highly relevant subject matter, is undoubtedly that it’s what we’d call an actor’s piece. It’s a play where the craft of the actor takes centre stage (and being actors ourselves), this is definitely what attracted us to the play initially.
So, when it comes to staging and design (especially the set and costumes), the vision was always, both in the original production and this time around, to ground ourselves in the actors’ imagination – in their impulses and playfulness. The play takes us from Norway to the Netherlands, France, and ultimately Syria. This almost epic journey could only come to life through the exploration of storytelling. How do we tell stories on stage? Or in our version of The Wetsuitman, at least.
Now, how do three actors become twenty-eight characters with minimal costumes and set, and how do they portray this expansive journey? Without revealing too much (the marketing hat is back on), we explored movement and physical characterisations early on, rather than relying on costume changes and accents (there are a few, but these aren’t a major focus). With a strong foundation in ensemble work, Franck (a core company member and our movement director) took the lead on this creative exploration. It’s been a lot of fun delving into the physical language that captures the essence of these diverse characters. And it provides a nice contrast to the darker side of the play, but more on that in a later entry.
Another eventful week – well, we shouldn’t be too surprised considering there are only two weeks left until opening night. And just like that, three weeks of Camila enjoying a partial-holiday in Portugal and Trine juggling her roles as director and producer (plus everything in between) draw to a close. We’re more than ready to start rehearsals now. As they say, let’s get this show on the road!
Thank you for joining us on this behind-the-scenes journey at Foreign Affairs. We’ll be back soon with more updates, misadventures, and insights into our world of theatre-making.
Camila & Trine
PS… we won’t bore you with images of us in front of screens, so instead we’ve included a postcard from Portugal plus a snapshot from the first day of rehearsals yesterday (more to come next week!) – all by Camila.
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