But before we hear from John, let’s first say hello to the director of the Lechlade Players second play, Andy Pritchard who is making his hj1act debut this year with Chekhov’s hilarious farce ‘The Proposal’.
hjHQ: Welcome to hj1act Andy! We’re really happy you’ll be part of our festival this year. John’s a seasoned festival director but this will be a new experience for you.
ANDY: Yes, this is the first play I’ve entered for hj1act and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’m working with a cast I know well individually, although this is the first play they’ve performed together – and watching them build the rapid, intelligent interaction that the piece demands has been fascinating.
hjHQ: Tell us about ‘The Proposal’.
ANDY: Chekhov didn’t initially think much of ‘The Proposal’ and told its first director to “roll cigarettes out of it for all I care”. I rate it rather more highly – it’s a fast-paced farce with an almost Pythonesque edge to it and I hope will fit enjoyably into a festival like this.
hjHQ: We’re really looking forward to this – we do love a comedy! It looks set to be a wonderful part of our Friday night line-up on 15th April. Thanks Andy!
hjHQ: And now we welcome John Williams to give us his thoughts on bringing the Bard to us this year.
Hi John! So great to welcome you back for hj1act 2016. You have a lot of festival experience and you’ve brought your speech and drama expertise to many a production over the years. Tell us a bit about that.
JOHN: I have been entering plays at the festival for quite a number of years and have been successful in getting a variety of awards. My approach as a director is in working with the actors to present a good standard of work and to tell the story in a clear way to the audience. My experience as a Speech and Drama coach and as an examiner enables me to facilitate the actors in developing and improving performance techniques. It is always good to hear an adjudication of a play that one enters and the feedback that very often echoes what has been discussed and actioned during the rehearsal period. The festival also helps and reassures actors on their skills and on any advice to improve in any future work.
hjHQ: We couldn’t agree more John! And as so many of us are enjoying this special year of Shakespeare celebrations, it’s very fitting that we will have one of his plays at hj1act. Tell us about your entry.
JOHN: I am entering scenes from the Tempest as this is our contribution to the Shakespeare anniversary this year, it’s also a challenge for actors to deliver the wonderful verbal images of the language to an audience. This requires energy and a strong need to communicate those words in telling the story.
hjHQ: We’re sure your cast will be well prepared for the challenge. You mentioned the adjudicator and we know that for some companies the adjudication process can be quite daunting, especially if they’re new to festival performing. With the benefit of your expertise and experience, what are your thoughts?
JOHN: The purpose of an adjudication is to assess objectively to what is heard and seen during a performance and to inform the audience and give constructive feedback that encourages and helps groups when presenting in the future. An adjudicator might ask him or herself the following questions.
What kind of play is it that they are doing?
How well are they doing it?
How worthwhile is the doing?
In working with the three actors on the Tempest scenes the objective is to enable them to find their own interpretation and focus and again to tell the story with clarity and a sense of the character which hopefully they will inhabit through the rehearsal process and display on the evening performance.
hjHQ: Thanks so much for those insights John. We’re always fascinated to hear people’s thoughts and it’s so helpful to get an inside view from someone as experienced as yourself! We are really looking forward to seeing ‘The Tempest’ on Thursday 14th April when it will open our festival in spectacular style!
JOHN: Thank you and good wishes to the groups this year.
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