Sunday, 30 January 2011

Preparation for the Police.

We're back in rehearsals for Community Safety Day at Twickenham Stadium in February, adapting the forum play we wrote last year looking at issues around stop and search.

Andy, Katie and Emma are repeating their roles with Michael and Sophie joining the cast. The play went down well last year, but we haven't really looked at it since and of course nobody bothered to script it, so most of the early rehearsals have been trying to remember exactly what we did right last time out. Slowly we began to piece it back together and find new lines and ideas that keep the whole thing fresh. Interestingly it's the new actors who are keener to keep to the original work; whereas the older hands want time to explore and rework sections. The real issue is tone; our audience are all 13 and 14 years old. It's important to keep the characters recognisable, the jokes fast and the learning light. We're well placed to do it, but mustn't become complacent.

The police have requested that we focus on 'joint enterprise' - the idea that if you are with somebody as they commit a crime you're also deemed to have committed the crime. The law's pretty clear and unforgiving on this point. With that in mind James, our protagonist, is much more a bystander to the main events rather than a perpetrator under duress. We've added a new scene to give the audience a sense of James' home life. It might be a bit of a red herring in the initial play, but does give us an opportunity to touch on parental expectations and attitudes towards the law in the discussions afterwards.

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