Kicking off the term with our first performance of the year, drama scholars Emma (U6D) and Emily (U6G) took on the challenge of directing Terrence Rattigan’s All On Her Own – a short duologue about a woman with a heart-breaking and sinister burden to share. Emma describes their process leading up to the play, some of the challenges they faced and the inspiration for their performance.
When we were approached with the idea for a scholar’s project, Emily and I immediately knew we wanted to create a production we were both passionate about. Having been to see Prima Facie – a one-woman play with Jodie Comer – and seeing her ability to take the audience on such a journey, we were inspired to try it ourselves.
We looked at a lot of plays before coming across All On Her Own, where we were immediately intrigued by the dynamic lead – Rosemary. It followed themes of guilt, confusion and loss, and Rosemary’s need to find answers surrounding her husband’s death gripped us and made us want to explore further.
The rehearsal process began in the summer holidays where we would get together to block out scenes, work out what set would complement the piece and look at costumes. The responsibility of creating the whole production (set/costumes/lighting etc) was something that neither I nor Emily had ever done before, but I enjoyed it so much. It allowed the piece to be completely our own vision and made us appreciate areas of theatre we had not seen before. For example, we chose to wear deep blue wrap dresses with leggings underneath, which complemented Rosemary’s wealthier status but also meant we did not look too young.
One thing we struggled with was accents. Throughout the piece, Rosemary is haunted by the ghost of her husband, Gregory, who is from Newcastle and someone she would often impersonate with his northern accent. Once returning to school, we gained help from Miss Grandi to help develop this, as well as begin to move our piece into the Studio Theatre – our final performance destination.
In the final performance, the lighting remained a straw wash throughout most of the piece, apart from the very beginning where she was chatting to someone at her front door upstage, and at the end where a spotlight was placed on the sofa – a key piece of the set, and throughout the play was used as a method to talk to her husband. This simple lighting allowed the audience to focus on Rosemary and her story, and enhancing her actions in subtle ways.
Another key item to the story was the ticking clock, which ticked throughout the whole piece, growing louder and quieter at certain moments. Again, this subtlety added to the mystery and allowed the piece to flow.
Overall, I loved creating our piece. It was an amazing opportunity to creatively discover whatever we would like, make mistakes, overcome challenges, and ultimately create a piece we adored and were immensely proud to present to our audiences.
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