Brendan Cooney as Frank, Stephen Tongun as Ishaku
And so Frank Forbes starts to come to life... Rehearsals are an absolute joy. Film and TV preproduction (as fun as it is) involves being bogged down in the technicalities of finding equipment, location scouting, shoot scheduling, shot lists and drawing up shooting scripts. The magic only happens after months of sweating it out in the edit room. With theatre it all starts from the first rehearsal. With the glorious notion of suspended disbelief firmly on our side, we as performers can create worlds of pain and passion in the flouro lit rehearsal space. It's raw, it's simple. But so far, there's just an audience of one - me - and I'm biased. The real test will come in 5 weeks time when we face an audience that needs to be moved, entertained and enlightened by what they see in front of them. So, cast, no pressure...
It's all in the script, Sheila
Ordinarily I'd struggle to direct myself out of a paper bag, but with this talented cast, directing comes easily and naturally. I'm a big fan of Laban and psychological actions. With every line the character is trying to do something to the other person. It's all ACTION. Sometimes they seduce. Sometimes they bully. And every action can be done in different ways. Sometimes they float, sometimes they punch, there are many ways to achieve the same objective. This is the fun of directing - helping actors find these powerful and complex actions to keep audiences engaged.
Kimberley Fox as Tracey, giving her dad hell...
Even though the cast are from very different places: Ghana, South Sudan, Mawson Lakes...so far they've worked together seamlessly. I've managed to grab the unsuspecting, but amazingly talented, Kimberely Fox straight out of Flinders Drama Centre before she no doubt abandons SA for the more fertile Eastern Sates. She's ripping it up on the rehearsal floor with the sublimely understated Brendan Cooney as Frank and the almost illegally charming Stephen Tongun, who incidentally MCs at HQ on a Saturday night, so feel free to go down and see him rock da house (as they used to say in the 90s).
Sheila Ablakwa as Jamilah, keeping close watch on her 'Yahoo Boy'
And then there is Sheila Ablakwa. This woman fills the room with sweet Ghanaian sassiness. A perfect ingredient for the dangerously smouldering Jamilah who can kill naive Nigerian would-be gangstas with a single look.
Anyway, enough gushing about the cast. Now there's work to do. Stay tuned for further developments. Next post I'll be delving into my misadventures in the Ghanaian TV industry...