This is only my second experience with devised theatre. My first was in the Performing Peace cluster last semester. This, though, is a different animal.
Every other theatre experience I have had has been: get the script, be assigned a role, memorize the lines, the director gives blocking. May 4th Voices has thrown out what I thought was the rulebook. As a cast we have come up with a rough outline of blocking which Dr. Mackenzie will shape and mold into something more concrete. We have also decided on roles assigning ourselves and one another to read certain parts.
The latter had me very uncomfortable. In my experience in theatre it is very dicey to hand over control of a show to the cast. Fortunately, the process so far has been pleasantly cooperative. Everyone in the cast and crew are decidedly working towards the same goal (as it should be, but that’s not always the case)
There is an upside to the cast deciding roles. There are some actors in the ensemble that have never been on stage before. They are getting the chance to jump into roles that they otherwise would not have gotten. That is really exciting.
It also allows the more experienced actors to see the growth in actors with much less experience, and some of this growth is already happening.
I am also, again, working from the technical side of this show building the set. This semester I am working as a paid employee in the scene shop and have my hands on everything technical (from a construction standpoint so far but I assume I will also be helping with lights as we come closer to tech). It is always an intriguing thing to see the show come together from both sides of the stage. Each aspect has its own challenges and I count myself lucky to be able to hone my skills in both areas.