Welcome back to our production diary! This marks our fifth entry, and with the first week of rehearsals done, we’re raring to go.
The Wetsuitman opens in exactly one week from today – so make sure to grab your ticket now!
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 hurricane of long days of rehearsals, production practicalities, and endless emails to the press, associates, and networks. Doing my own PR and marketing felt like juggling flaming swords at times. Amidst it all, we announced that our Theatre Translator Mentorship has been awarded funding from the Jerwood Developing Artist Fund, and we were dancing with joy while still trying to stay focused on rehearsals – it wasn’t easy!
What made it even more special is the fact that The Wetsuitman is a ‘mentorship play’ – a play developed and discovered during our mentorship in 2020/21.
Rehearsal room snapshots by Camila
A week in the life of FA (aka Camila & Trine)
Sticking to this format, but we’ll try to be brief … (not something we’re known for, but with long rehearsals and production days, it’s probably the best thing for everyone).
- Monday: Day one of rehearsals – yay! – was spent at Centre 151 (a local arts and community venue), and they’d kindly offered the rehearsal venue in kind. In the room, Camila is staying on top of production and PR, but dipping into the creative process once in a while. We’re also joined by Franck, our movement director, plus Amy, our lighting designer.
- Tuesday: Second and last day at Centre 151, and we’re “home alone” as we’ve coined it when it’s only us and the cast. Today we also announced the Jerwood funding, which left us a little overwhelmed by everything.
- Wednesday: First day of rehearsals at Rich Mix – another east London venue, but new to us as a rehearsal space. And we love it!! We’re again joined by Franck, as we look to add detail to movement and characters.
- Thursday: Quick morning meeting with a couple of the speakers for our post-show talk: Exploring Themes of Migration: Conversations with Local Organisations. Plus lots of production practicalities organising technical hire and crew. Phew!
- Friday: Last day of rehearsal of week one, and we’re again joined by Franck and also our embedded critic and dramaturg, Deema. To keep us on our toes, we’re also joined by filmmaker Rich Rusk, who’s recording some material to be used now and in the future (shhhh).
- Saturday: Producer catch-up and some much-needed rest … zzzz!
- Sunday: We wouldn’t recommend this, but we spend all day catching up on PR and marketing tasks. Note to self: we don’t really have time to do our own PR and marketing, even for a short run!!
So, one week of rehearsals down, and the countdown has truly begun. After three weeks apart, it has been brilliant to be in the room together. And since Camila has no mum-duties (her son is spending time with family in Portugal), we’re even able to go for after-rehearsal drinks, something we haven’t done in a very long time.
Some thoughts on our creative process
Rehearsing a piece you’ve already done before is something really exciting and special – it’s as if everything has settled into place, and although we’re repeating, we’re not really and always on the journey of rediscovery!
Due to the subject matter and the play being based on a true story, we all agree that we were somewhat reverent and careful the first time around (which was exactly what we needed to be). We all share the vision of being bolder and less careful this time around, while still being respectful of the voices and people the play is based on.
What that means is that we’re leaning into the light and comical moments even more, allowing the darkness of the play to be further amplified. You cannot have darkness without lightness. This exploration is particularly happening in Act 1 and Act 2, which helps to create a balance in the piece. A lot of laughter and tears are shed in the room. And we’re truly grateful for the amazing cast and team that equally are throwing themselves into the process. What truly makes our production, is the collaborative approach that is at the heart of our practice and work.
We round off on a grateful note – shout out to Centre 151 and Rich Mix. We’re beyond thrilled to have a space that allows us to rehearse a physically explorative piece (in the past, we’ve at times rehearsed in our tiny basement studio. If walls could speak – but that’s a story for another time).
We’re excited about the next week, but also a little nervous – rehearsals are odd; we work tirelessly in preparation for them and the production, and then suddenly they arrive, and it’s all over. But not yet – let’s savour every moment.
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.
Até logo. På gensyn. Until next time.
Camila & Trine
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