Rehearsal Diary: Week Three

The Deep Blue Sea is the production currently in rehearsal by the Infinity Stage Company. This diary covers their rehearsal process from the first week of rehearsals to the final night. When Hester Collyer is found by her neighbours in the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt, the story of her tempestuous affair with a former RAF pilot and the breakdown of her marriage to a High Court judge begins to emerge. The following 24 hours follows Hester as she decides whether or not she can continue to live. The production runs at the University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students on the 6th, 7th and 8th of May, with ticket info available shortly. This weeks entry is completed by Sophie MacDonald, who plays Hester Collyer.

As we reach week three everyone is getting excited to get stuck into the text. This week we worked on the opening scenes, and experimented with an unscripted opening scene showing the moment Hester attempts to commit suicide. It’s safe to say that despite the continuous sea puns that still permeate every rehearsal, today’s work had a tenser and more serious note. After all our work establishing the background stories of our characters and answering the questions we had for the text, everyone is feeling more established in their characterization, which we can now apply to the scenes.

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After another entertaining warm up, Harry and I started to work through the opening. We went through the thought process behind Hester’s decision to attempt suicide in that specific moment, coming up with eight ‘steps’ to the night. This included key moments such as her writing the suicide note, and added specifics like her tearing down the birthday decorations in the flat. From here we started working on the written opening of the play, where Phillip and Mrs. Elton find Hester collapsed. Transitioning from the gripping moment that Hester decides to end her life directly to when she is found added an interesting dynamic to the opening, which helped us to feel the immediacy of the situation. We then started working through the text scene by scene, with Darcy and Ed incorporating moments of closeness to boost the appearance of their relationship onstage. We also worked on Miller’s entrance, and each character’s reaction to him, and we fleshed out each character’s relationships to one another.

Everyone was looking forward to working through the body of the text and this week and it didn’t disappoint. It was so much fun working on the opening, and I can’t wait to work through the rest of the play.

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