Brothers in Isolation
I was initially going to write here about our Brothers workshop, but unfortunately due to COVID, we had to change lanes. Instead of us being in a rehearsal room, we jumped online and ran the script in full.
As a writer, there are many advantages to hearing the script read out loud. For me, it allows me to understand if the story flows. Does anything sound off-key, even better, beautifully bounce off the page? I can hear if the character feels repetitive, or worse, seem out of character. I do walk the room and read lines out loud, but it’s not quite the same. I can’t act, and my accent goes all scouse! For other works I’ve reached out to talented friends, who kindly record themselves reading pages of scripts.
Emma records our script reads using Zoom, then pings the recordings over to me to watch back. Our first Zoom read I forgot to mute my microphone and only realised when I watched the footage; the recording focused on me laughing at Dan – we also have Pete caught on camera during a giggling fit. The second recording I had my mic on as I was reading the scene intros. I tried not to laugh, but Liam got me! Dan and Liam seem unaware of our laughter and tears (Emma was crying this time). I think once they’ve got their heads into the script, the focus is only on each other. They’re so GOOD!
There are some restrictions to being confined to being online. We don’t have the opportunity to test the physical side of Brothers, which is integral to the play. However, it’s very entertaining to watch Dan and Liam pretend to run while sitting at their computers.
Running through the recording, I use Premiere Pro to edit the scenes and focus on the ones that need work. Some scenes I email over to Dan and Liam to watch, especially when we’re all laughing! When watching the footage, I have to remind myself that if a line of dialogue isn’t quite right, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not meant to be there. At this stage of development, it could merely be its delivery during a readthrough. Perhaps I’ve not flowed the sentence correctly, a word out or one word too many. If a line has a crucial story beat, it could sound completely different in a workshop or rehearsal. Something I’ve come to understand from sitting in many rehearsals at WLT. Dan and Liam always bring everything to the reads and it’s invaluable in helping me further develop and question the current draft.
One piece of advice I’ve always remembered is when seeking feedback on a script, to think of it as taking your car for its MOT, or roadworthy as it’s known here in Australia. Some parts of the vehicle are running fine; other parts may need a tweak or two. Brothers is nearly there; we have some tightening and oiling of parts plus one tricky scene I’m desperate to workshop.
Hopefully, we can soon be in the same room and run the play in full. Including the brothers running and fighting, which is plentiful.
After all, this is a play about siblings!