Ogmius: Skill based residency: Textlab, week two

In April Harald Leander, the three artists and the support staff working on Textlab met up again over Zoom. They continued to work on the play together. Rehearsing and filming, scene by scene.

> Watch a film documenting the process of Textlab by clicking here.

> Watch a selection of scenes from the work made during Textlab.

Insight into the process at Moomsteatern:

The artists soon discovered that working on zoom is a big difference from working on stage, when you are limited to using your face and voice, rather than your whole body. In the preparations at Moomsteatern, when working with the text in between the Textlab weeks, actor Therese tried to make bigger use of her body anyway, to learn the text. Together with support person Louise they tried to build a library of moves and voices. They practiced the text by moving around in the room while reading out loud. They spent time every week “playing” with the text by using different voices, sometimes silly voices, to make Therese more relaxed about the text. Therese found that she developed in putting greater focus into her voice, to use her voice to find different characters.

Patience turns out to be the greatest challenge for Therese during the Textlab weeks. Working through a screen it takes a lot of energy to keep focused. The translation is time consuming and during some sessions Therese finds it really hard to keep the energy up when Harald spends time talking to the other actors in other languages. The work is moving slowly forward and Therese has to really put her patience to the test. After the first Textlab week they decided that Harald would divide the sessions so that everyone doesn’t have to attend everything. That means they all get more individual time with the director and loose less energy while waiting for Harald to talk to the other actors.

But Therese also reflects on that there is an advantage of working through filming, which is not having to know the whole script by heart when you go on stage. Recording allows for re-takes and checking the script to be reminded of the text in between takes/scenes. At the end of the project Therese felt that she had developed her skills in working with film, by feeling a lot more relaxed in front of the camera.

After rehearsals during the first Textlab week Therese finds it easy to follow what the others are saying even when she can’t understand the language. She focuses on sounds they make, breathing, emphasis of words rather than understanding the words. This is harder when they move from rehearsing to recording, which meant leaving the Zoom-meeting and standing in front of the camera in the studio, and she can’t hear or see the others. When adding a monitor and headphones it became a lot better again.

Therese reflected towards the end of the the second week that it had been very hard rehearsing text without the director ever being present. She really missed working with her co-actors on a more regular basis and missed having a dialogue with the other actors about how they were working with their text. She felt that the time in between the Textlab weeks was very abstract when they all work “in bubbles”.