I recently had the pleasure of working with a bunch of super-talented and very lovely actors on a project called One Good Man, a piece of devised theatre about protest. Directed by Eloise Lally and Rosa Manzi Reid (of RIAN Dance), the project involved a cast of ten actors, including fellow E15ers Carol Ellis and Dimitris Chimonas.
The work included a mixture of movement and text-based scenes, and involved the input of the whole ensemble in suggesting ideas for devising work, although it was guided and shaped by Eloise and Rosa. Writers Tom Mair and Jack Flanagan penned some of the scenes, exploring different types of protest and what it means to different groups of people.
Research for the project included cast members bringing in protest art and verbatim text, and retelling our own experiences. I joined the project after its initial stage of research and development, as rehearsals were about to start. One piece I brought in, a verbatim account by my sister of the student protests in London several years ago, made it into the scratch performance. She spoke of how her experience of the protest was completely peaceful, yet social media was going bezerk with mentions of smoke bombs and rioting. I remember texting her that day as soon as I saw the reports on the news, checking she was ok and asking her to get the hell out of there. My favourite comment from her account really struck a chord:
The tweets made me realise how negative and easily led people can be. How lies can run round the world before the truth has even got its boots on.
Earlier this month we gave a scratch performance of One Good Man at The Place in London, in a studio belonging to the London Contemporary Dance School. An audience of invited industry professionals provided feedback, which we are hoping to take on board in the future development of this piece.
I loved working collaboratively in this way and with this group of people. With East 15 and Mountview graduates, amongst others, we brought different perspectives into the room, which enriched the process and the resulting work. I can’t wait to get back into the studio.