I’m nervous. I’m really nervous. Daniel O’Kane and Liam O’Kane have my script in their hands. They’re glancing over the pages for the first time while Peter Newling, who is directing BROTHERS, walks them through the day’s schedule.
My hands shake a little (could be the strong coffee Emma’s made me). I question why I do this. What if it doesn’t work? Well, that’s the reason for the workshop. What if Dan and Liam don’t believe in the story or what we’re asking of them? Again, hello, workshop. What if the funny moments make people sad, and the sad moments make people laugh? Well, at least it’s generating some form of reaction. What if…oops no time to back out the room and wheel spin out the car park, Pete has closed the door.
The play revolves around two characters, brothers Jay (Liam) and Matt (Dan), who have been estranged for over ten years. Reunited, both battling for survival in their personal lives, they revisit their turbulent childhood and attempt to mend their relationship. But before we dive in, Pete gives a quick introduction to Myers Briggs. We each talk about our personalities before Pete turns his focus to Jay and Matt’s personalities. I’m fascinated as Dan and Liam communicate their thoughts and ideas about their characters. Pete asks them to think about how their characters would shop together in the supermarket. Dan believes Matt would methodically inspect the packaging and assess the health benefits. Liam imagines Jay would aimlessly hurl brightly coloured items into the shopping trolley and annoy Matt. I grin like a Cheshire cat. They nail their characters and my nerves fade. Matt and Jay are in safe hands with Dan and Liam.
We had a number of scenes to run through the day, but spent most of the morning working only one of them. A tricky and sensitive scene that requires Dan and Liam to transition between characters and locations, Pete took it step-by-step and ran it several ways until we all happily felt ‘Yep, that works!’.
After lunch we manoeuvred through the scenes. Dan and Liam once again showcasing their talent and instinct, especially as they were reading the script for the first time. We also threw in some props to mix it up, including a bag of plums, Pringles, holy water and flowers. Scripts down and a little rough around the edges from the intensity of the workshop, which produced both tears and laughter, we chat about the day. What needs more work and the scenes we love as they were. Pete believes the play is already in a good place, which was reassuring to hear.
What’s next for Brothers? Since the workshop I’ve written a full first draft, and I’m about to send it out to the gang. That makes me nervous, again, ‘What if…’. Another workshop, which was planned, is tricky and you know, sort of banned. Nonetheless, Emma is currently organising us all for a table read via Zoom. The plan is to have Brothers as developed as much as we can while isolated from each other. We remain positive, and look forward to the day we can step outside and blink upwards at the bright sunlight. To hug our beautiful world of theatre and tread the boards once the red curtain rises again, which it will!
The workshop took place at Yarraville Community Centre, Francis Street.
Brothers is being produced by Emma Hunt and her company Little Red Fox Productions
Brothers Workshop ONE can be found: