ParkLife, Rehearsals Day 2

Day Two, Wednesday 1st February.

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I skip into rehearsals having seen leaflets for the Live Lab Elevator week in the foyer downstairs. My career to date has included scratch nights and two hour long rehearsed readings. While ParkLife will be presented as work-in-development, the actors will be off book and the play will be presented with all sorts of tech which I haven’t really had. This feels very different.

As as result, I’m planning to make the most of it all. I collect every mention, preview, and press release of the play. I have only gathered two leaflets so far, but am wondering how to sneak off with more. Perhaps wallpaper my house with them.

Melanie starts with a memory exercise. She asks me to recount everything I did the previous evening, beginning with leaving the rehearsal room. She then asks Amy to tell us everything she can remember from what I just said. Amy particularly remembers me talking about leaving Live Theatre because she was standing at box office and I said goodbye to her on my way out. Melanie provides a memory that I had forgotten which was texting her. (about The OA – yes I finally finished it). This is interesting because it shows exactly the details we remember and the ones we don’t. What emerges is the concept of collective memory. How we can back each other up on memories because we took part in them, or in some cases, remind us of the things we have forgotten.

We listen to our title song and discuss the meaning of it. We think about what inspired Blur to write Parklife. We examine the common themes that run through their music.

During lunch, Melanie has been busy with the flip chart pens and paper. We now have several quotes about memory to look at. Including:

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.

Memory is the diary we carry about with us.

The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living. Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we can’t forget creates a new way to remember.

We try to decide which ones would apply to each of our characters. We also try to guess who said them. We completely fail at guessing the first one. It’s a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The last part of the day is my favourite so far. Chris and Amy act out the first few pages of the play.

I will never take for granted how amazing it is to have actors standing up and acting out your words. To make characters that appear on paper come alive. The idea of sharing your work with anyone can be completely terrifying. There is the fear that someone find what you’ve written completely stupid and burst out laughing in the middle of it. But like every other actor I’ve worked with so far, Chris and Amy are gracious, committed, and enthusiastic.

It’s just brilliant.

Mhairi x

ParkLife is written by Mhairi Ledgerwood and will be on at Live Theatre on Wednesday 22 & Friday 24 February in a double bill with Cloakroom Theatre. Find out more

Presented as part of Live Theatre’s Live Lab Elevator festival celebrating new work in the NE. The show is supported by Live Theatre and by Arts Council England.