Phew! It’s been three full days of casting and I’m on to the last day of seeing new people. And it is hard work. We’ve had some wonderful actresses, in fact not one bad one and they’ve all responded well to the exercise we’ve been doing.

Each actress has come with their own monologue which they’ve prepared, and with each of them I’ve gone through the same process.

First time, they do it their own way. This isn’t particularly relevant to their abilities with improvisation, but it does help me have an idea about where their natural talents lie.

Second time, I ask them to do one that is as flat as possible, with the least amount of emotion or “acting”. This is so that I have something of a blank slate for us to start with, so I can just hear the words by themselves. This is actually quite hard as the emotions carry the words and without the emotions, the words can get lost.

Once we’ve done this, we start to play with the scene. This can often start with examining who the actress is speaking to, but also can be what has happened just before the monologue started or where it is taking place. If this seems to work, we try and refine it further, if it doesn’t we try something else.

It’s fun for me, as I get to flex my directing muscles again, but being in an open and aware frame of mind for so many of these different scenes is quite exhausting. Especially as I am trying to treat each text as a section on it’s own, divorced from the work that it is from and the intentions of the writer and just see what the actress and I can do with the words we have in front of us.

Tomorrow we are going to get pairs of actresses in, Mother and Daughter, and do some actual improvisation work… which’ll be exciting.