R&D Week

After a week of exploration together in the beautiful Wilton's Music Hall for our show 'Sardines', we thought what better way than to hear from our cast...

Friday morning. 8:30am. The twenty something next to me seems hungover. I can smell Red Stripe. He pulls out the biggest headphones I’ve ever seen. Fancy ones too. On goes his Spotify playlist and music begins to play out. Loudly. Everyone in the carriage can hear it through his headphones. He’s so into the music he starts to nod his head and smile. Then he’s tapping his thigh. His shaking his shoulders. Normally on a Monday this would be annoying but it’s the weekend and his sense of fun, bliss and happiness is contagious.

This is how our research and development week began, sharing our observations of strangers on the tube. We laughed a lot but most importantly- pushed ourselves into the themes the play explores. The best part was character exploration and tapping into the mindset of London’s rich mix of personalities. It was a great opportunity to use some of the character traits I’ve seen in strangers on public transport recently. (Alistair Hall, trained with Identity School of Acting)

After reading snippets of Jenna Kamal's 'Sardines' I instantly fell in love with the writing and couldn't wait to put it onto its feet. I haven't previously taken part in an R&D so I was excited to see what we were able to get out of it. Each morning, we discussed any goings on that we saw on our journeys in, focusing on the tube. It's only when you think about it that you realise the strange world that exits underground. I was fascinated by the amount of people who spent their whole journey fixed to their phones, not looking up once. We used these sightings as stimulus for the piece and often what was created was humorous and good fun. Multi roleing is a huge aspect of Sardines and presented us with different challenges but this meant we were able to play around with different characters all week which was hugely rewarding. I'm looking forward to taking this piece even further! (Lily Nissan, University of Exeter)

I was drawn to this project originally when reading the character breakdowns of each of the central monologues. The care taken in creating living, detailed backstories for the actor to explore and invest in really enamoured me to the project. It struck me that the writer (Jenna Kamal) had an innate understanding of the human condition, intentions and drives. Now enough of all the wanky flagellation, down to the week. We've had a lot of fun throwing ideas at the wall and experimenting with accents, staging, seating, standing, posture, biscuits, books and scene changes. On reflection it's amazing how much of it stuck or at the very least hasn't been thrown out just yet. For all our successes though the fate of The Candy Crush sequence seemed sealed from the very first squat jump. It was just never going to fly. Much to Alistair's (and mine too if I'm really honest) and despite Alice's convictions (interesting to note she's never played the game before) Erin sensibly canned the idea. What could have been. Alice is still adamant that it will come back in some form when we get going again in June, revamped and ready to go. Here's hoping. Watch this space people, you're in for a delicious show ! (Jonty Weston, The Oxford School of Drama)

'Sardines', The Drayton Arms, 26th June-27th July.

But don't be thinking we've stopped working on it, still the research continues...

[19:56, 3/29/2018] Jonty Weston:

I’ve never seen anything like it ! I was on the Jubilee line.

And witnessed a man finish a sudoku and 3/4 of a crossword between London Bridge and Westminster.

No exaggeration.

I wanted to stay on to shake his hand when he finished but I had to change.

I also wanted to take a picture but that would have probably been inappropriate.

Wow I feel so alive !

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