Dan's Blog

Dan Pippen on character development for Love and Information

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Dan Pippen is a complete newbie to People’s Company productions but has definitely hit the ground running. In the latest Love and Information Blog, Dan gives his perspective on the character building process for the multiple roles each actor plays…

“This is my first production with the People’s Company and I sincerely hope that it will not be my last! I do not have a drama background, and though acting is something I have always wanted to do, I would be lying if I said I was not at least a little apprehensive at the outset about what lay ahead. My fears could not have been more misplaced. It is a true pleasure to be a part of this company. The cast and crew are all fantastic: they are a hugely talented group full of enthusiasm for their work, and they are all lovely people, too. It has not taken long to build a strong rapport between the cast, and we even socialise outside of rehearsals. The fact that we all get on so well generates a fantastic and friendly atmosphere in rehearsals, and it has made the entire process richly rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable.

The play itself is extremely complex and encompasses more than 50 scenes and an incredibly diverse range of characters, locations and themes. With a cast of 15, who would each receive between 7 and 10 roles, the casting process was anything but straightforward. The script does not include any stage directions, nor does it give any indication as to where the scenes are set or who the characters are. Consequently, each part of the play is open for interpretation and there is great scope for experimentation. Our first rehearsals were spent discussing each scene; where we envisaged it taking place; who the characters are; their relationships and back-stories; what has happened in the moments immediately before the audience join the scene, and so forth. We then tried different combinations of the cast acting out the scenes in a number of ways, altering the tone, location, relationships and power dynamics to create several interpretations of each scene, to see what worked best.

Having been assigned our roles, we are now free to explore our scenes in more depth. A significant portion of rehearsals has been focussed upon not just acting the lines themselves, but in establishing the back-stories and finer details of our characters. This has proved extremely interesting, and the deeper understanding of who the characters are and what is taking place in the scene really helps us to bring each scene to life. This has also enabled us to have had a direct creative input to the process, rather than just being tasked with carrying out the ideas of others.

My experiences so far as part of the Love and Information team have been fantastic. It has been extremely rewarding to help bring this play to life, and all of the cast and crew have been a joy to work with. I cannot recommend the People’s Company highly enough: if you have ever wanted to perform in theatre, do not hesitate to sign up!”

Love and Information will be performed in The Drum from Wednesday 2nd to Saturday 5th July. All seats are £9.70 (concessions £5.70), inclusive of a 70p per ticket booking fee. For even more insight into the cast and creative process please come to the Thursday 3rd July performance which will be followed by a short Q and A with the cast.

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