guest blog: first look at the rehearsal room / tasha msanide
Let me introduce myself. My name is Tasha and I’m the newest addition to the tiata fahodzi family. I will be interning with the company for the next three months. I’ve just finished my second week so I’m starting to settle in nicely. As a new member to the team I feel privileged to be joining the company as they prepare for the biggest tour in their 18 year history. Having recently graduated from university, my position within the company marks my first steps towards a career in theatre.
As someone who is fascinated with the entire process of theatre, I am eager to learn about the logistics of organising a national tour as well as building relationships with my local community.
One of the best parts about this job is its dedication to creating non-stereotypical African Theatre. It’s something that there definitely needs to be more of, and the fact that this company is in my hometown makes it even better.
This week had an exciting start as we moved into our rehearsal space in Clapham in South London. As I turned up at 10 o’clock the production team were dotted around the room setting up for the day. Ahead of me stood the set, an average living space with two bedrooms at the back, which will be the family home the next 3 months. Natalie our director, and Annie our choreographer, were walking around the set in deep discussion as they prepared for the first day of the rehearsal process.
Before starting, we all stood in a circle in the middle of the room where we officially introduced ourselves and our roles within the company; Natalie and Annie, Sam who plays son, Solomon who plays father, Caitlin our stage manager, Suzy our technical manager- both will be on the road with the boys, Alyson our designer, Erin our production manager, Alison our general manager, and myself.
Alyson walked us through the set and explained the significance of many sections of the house; the wallpaper, to show that this is a regular, conventional household which is shattered by death. The blackness in the centre is representative of a black hole of grief that the boys have been sucked into. The floor of the set opens to show the breakdown of communication between father and son.
Natalie then spoke about her new visions for this version of the show. How things can get better as we prepare for the company’s biggest national tour to-date. How her approach to directing this time round was to look at the whole process with new eyes to engage the audience even more, so that they’re involved on the journey that the boys are going through.
The team then split to get on with their tasks, Sam, Solomon, Annie, Natalie and Caitlin all remained in the room to start rehearsals, Alyson went costume shopping, while myself, Alison, Suzy and Erin ventured into the cafe downstairs to have our production meeting where we discussed technical aspects of the tour.
It’s amazing how quickly everything seems to be happening, I suppose that’s what happens when you’re surrounded by a team who are so on top of everything and who are lovely to be around.
I can’t wait to see what the next week brings, especially when we move from the rehearsal space into West Herts College, the first venue of the tour. I hope to see many of you along the way.
Keep updated by following us on twitter for more insights into the tour, and don’t forget to buy your tickets :)