In this blog, Tilly Branson - assistant director of All The Little Lights - chats with the cast about the challenges, themes and process of the play…
What three words or phrases would you use to describe the All The Little Lights?
Esther: Harrowing, bleakly funny, and poignant.
Tessie: Relevant, multi-faceted characters, dark humour
Sarah: Sisters, men, pain.
What's the biggest challenge of rehearsing this play for you?
Esther: I think the emotional depth of it. It's quite a challenge to be able to get yourself into the frame of mind of the characters and where they are. With my character, Amy, it's her innocence in particular that can be challenging. For me as an actor I need to know what's going on, but then in order to see through the eyes of a twelve year old, there's a process of knowing and then unknowing. And also to find the joy, to find the characters' moments of joy.
Tessie: I find my character, Joanne, a real challenge because I'm naturally quite empathic and she isn't. It can be hard to find her intentions and then to rationalise them when her disposition is so very different to mine.
Sarah: It can also be challenging not to slip into bad habits because we've done the play once already. But actually this time we've done so much more detailed work on the characters and on the text. So it's about staying in those moments and not slipping back into the familiarity of what we did before.
How is this re-rehearsal process different from rehearsing the play for the first time?
Esther: We need to see it through completely fresh eyes, to strip it back and start from the beginning. We're all really conscious that we don't recreate the same play, because it needs to be now, in 2017. Awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation has moved on and we have been thinking about the impact of that. We're always looking for new discoveries.
Tessie: We're also going over it all with a lot more detail and fine-tuning. That's really adding a level of freshness and excitement. It's easy to slip back into the previous version, so we're being really disciplined about not being complacent and doing that.
Sarah: We know what we're doing this time round, we're not starting from scratch, with the finished play as an unknown, and that's amazing, to not be panicking about that. I've been finding out so much more about my character, Lisa, and I'm really enjoying going deeper with her.
What are you enjoying most or feeling most excited about?
Esther: I'm really excited to take the play to lots of different areas of the country and see how it goes down with different communities. Last time we toured we only stayed in the East Midlands but this time we're going all over the country. I'm excited to cover all that ground and see all those different venues, but mainly to share the play with all those different communities and see how they respond.
Tessie: This will be my first tour, so I'm really excited about that! I'm also really enjoying approaching all the characters in so much more detail and adding those additional layers.
Sarah: I'm excited about having audiences and going around the country with the show. I can't wait to see what people's reactions are!