We recently worked with the BRILLIANT Metal Culture in Southend to develop some ideas for a new show MAD LOVE with writer Vickie Donoghue. We asked Tara Hodge, one of the performers we worked with, to write about the week.
"Earlier this year, I travelled down to Chalkwell with the nabokov ladies Stef & Liz, the wonderful actress Lynne Clarke and our amazing writer Vickie Donoghue. We stayed at Metal Culture, an amazing artistic laboratory working on the read and development of a new play MAD LOVE.
I play Kara, a vulnerable young girl in and out of prison, she’s had a troubled upbringing with very little stability and support. With no real friends the only reliable people in her life are her dear old nan and mad dog Sid. Kara’s clearly following in her Mother's footsteps, following the same path of self destruction and torment. With bad being all she knows, she reaches breaking point, her nan barks but Kara, she bites!
Working with the ladies gave me so much wisdom and inspiration for the week, we were surrounded by chalk board walls, beautiful sea front views and a fresh and vibrant space to develop this piece. We worked on understanding the characters, storyboarding their lives to understand their personalities and the reasons behind certain lines.
I love this process and, as dark as it sounds, I like delving into Kara's troubled past. It enables me to enhance my performance on stage using these thoughts as emotional triggers. We shared relatable experiences and stories to make these characters as real as possible. Lynne plays Nan, and we spent lots of time bonding, cooking, cleaning and overall just sharing our life experiences!
At the end of the week we performed what we'd been working on to to a small audience, it’s always good to get people's feedback. Just when you think after a solid week you’ve semi nailed your script and you haven’t! That's is the beauty of a research and development period, working together exploring what works and sometimes what doesn't work too. By the end I was so emotionally connected with my lines that I screamed, cried, got frustrated, laughed, joked, danced, sang. I drained myself, but in that good, vibrant and uplifting way, I felt that connection with Kara as a character.
Stef, the Director, has you on your toes, pushing you to get the best out of you, the play and all cracks in between. To help you to have a better understanding, broaden your way of thinking and literally smash it in all that you do! I have always gotta give thanks for the encouragement and opportunities!
I’m a firm believer in the saying
“Proper preparation prevents poor performance” and look forward to what the future has in store for Mad Love!
Twitter: @HodgeTaraInstagram: @HodgeTar