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Alex Knight - Young Mortimer

Performing in such a space as the new CAPITAL centre studio was an incredible experience for a student theatre production. The fact that we were able to rehearse in the performance venue throughout the rehearsal schedule was as an added plus. It allowed us to become far more comfortable with the space than we would otherwise have been.

In rehearsals we experimented around a huge number of exercises with the body. We were told to walk around the room by the director and suddenly freeze in any position of our choosing. When the whole group had done this the director asked everyone but one person to relax and look at the remaining frozen person. We were asked to describe what we saw in just one word. We would repeat this a few more times so that we had various different actions to choose from. When we had completed this part of the exercise we were asked to choose one of the positions we had seen and to copy it exactly and then to start speaking the different words that had arisen from the groups thoughts on that position. It made us concentrate in minute detail on what our bodies were doing and how we could distort and use them to our advantage when put in our characters.

We looked at how far you could push the body before it breaks. We were placed in partners and both people raised their hands together. When one person moved their hands the other had to follow wherever they took them. We were constantly told by the director to push each other as far as possible until one of us fell over. Only by doing this could we understand how far we can take our bodies. By doing this exercise we able to push our bodies in a huge number of ways showing the huge number of things we could create with just our bodies.

We investigated status exercises with a partner looking to see who held the highest status at that particular moment. We would look at a particular moment between two characters and play it out with one of the couple being the dominant figure. They would assume a dominant position with their body and remain frozen throughout. When they had assumed their position the other person would take up a submissive position to them and likewise remain frozen throughout the exercise. When both characters had finished the director asked them both to do the same thing but now swap the status around so whoever had taken up the submissive position now took up the dominant position. This made it completely clear who was in charge at any one moment.

To find the overall status of the group and all their characters the director asked us to use our bodies in other ways. We were asked to choose an animal that best suited our characters and to inhabit this animal. When the whole group had chosen we were asked to react and respond to what each other had chosen. This simple exercise allowed us to realise who controlled the highest status in the group whilst allowing the group to use their bodies in new ways.

With all these exercises and the use of such an intimate and exciting venue as well as the support from the CAPITAL centre staff and production team we were able to bring lots of physicality and strength to this production.