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Act One: Online and kicking

This week, Act One director, Nataliya Kharina, gets us up to speed with the digital progress of our youngest company members – and tells us why she’s determined to share The Empress with audiences.

This term, audiences will see brand new ideas and creativity from Act One. There are new avenues we can explore. We can learn how we look on camera. We can use objects and puppets and layering sound. We can ‘polish’ moments.

This situation challenges us, but our creativity allows us to adapt really quickly. Lots of people I know are struggling, but the arts world has just gone, ‘OK, cool: new thing we’re making, different environment!’ The same way as when you go into a room to run a workshop, and the room is a nightmare – you just have to make it work. I absolutely believe we can make it work.

Act One warm-up, May 2020

I’m feeling positive about the classes on Zoom. Act One have been amazing. They really are a phenomenal group. They did some writing about the history of objects and pieces of clothing this week; they were just the most beautiful pieces of writing. We’ve been talking about getting the members to write a big chunk of whatever we’re going to create

We can use this time to our advantage in developing brand new skills we didn’t have before and wouldn’t have otherwise given ourselves time to explore. It’s a really exciting time.

The Magical Dentist….

I do feel sad about the Empress – that we didn’t get to do it: it was in such an amazing place. The young people were so dedicated and so looking forward to it. Seeing the tears in their eyes when we had to cancel was crazy.

It’s the show I’ve been most proud of, and I really am determined for people to see it – I’ll battle for that to happen. It absolutely deserves the stage.

The opening lines of the show are so fitting for the time we’re living in right now. It’s about how our Empress started the world with this naive and wonderful feeling, and then grew harder and colder as the world took over:

“Sense by sense, you learn the world through feeling. When you’re sad, your body melts, and when you’re angry it trembles. When you’re nervous, you feel sick; when you’re happy, it’s as if you’ve got pins and needles – you can feel it so hard, right down to the bone. If you’re lucky you have someone to make you feel less alone.”

I think that is what’s happening right now, in the wake of the coronavirus. Perhaps we’re going back to that initial sense of feeling; having to just be.

Act One in rehearsals for The Empress