Memories & moving forward: Louder Is Not Always Clearer
Posted on: 03 May 2019 by Sarah Milligan - Assistant Director at Mr and Mrs Clark Production
Bringing the production back to life: Mr & Mrs Clarke's Sarah Milligan opens up about the emotional process of bringing 'Louder Is Not Always Clearer' together for its new run.
What a truly incredible first week we’ve had revisiting and re-imagining this production.
For me, coming in as a new recruit to the Mr and Mrs Clark team has been a whirlwind of learning opportunities counterpointed by beautiful, delicate moments of self-reflection and sharing.
Now, as Friday draws to its close, it’s the perfect time to take the opportunity to look back and reflect on this first week and the rehearsal process for Louder Is Not Always Clearer.
We began this week, some of us as strangers, working with year-old memories of the play. Certainly, a difficult place to begin any rehearsal process!
Yet under the direction of Gareth, the Mr of Mr and Mrs Clark, it’s been a week full of progressions and growth from the very first day where we marked through the play, finding our feet again, to finishing Friday with a full run-through.
The focus this week hasn’t been just about developing the content and it’s many intricate elements, but also just as importantly about cultivating a solid group cohesion built on trust and a shared experience of the play.
Throughout the week Gareth has encouraged us to reconnect with the roots of the production, such as spending an afternoon in a drawing masterclass led by Marega, Mrs Clark. Jonny, the lead actor and whose story we are telling, has a degree in Fine Art and a lot of his early experiences with art influence important aspects of the play. Marega’s workshop gave us an opportunity to tap back into the motivation behind the use of drawing and art in the performance and helped reignite exactly why Jonny is telling his story in this way.
This workshop in which we all participated was part of the webbing together of a team who have spent hours and hours living and breathing this performance. Under Gareth’s direction we have bonded and contributed to the material so that whilst it may seem only Jonny is on stage, performing his story, there is a collective of people who know every moment.
This ensures that in the space, Jonny doesn't feel alone and that we are all there, supporting him and feeling each second with him.
For me, this has been one of the most important and honoured elements of this week, working alongside Jonny. He isn’t a trained performer or actor and only in the last few years has he turned his attentions towards theatre.
Yet, remembering this when watching him run his scenes, witnessing his natural and authentic ability, his sincerity in allowing himself to be vulnerable and raw whilst uninhibitedly engaging the audience and holding their eye contact and his effervescent charisma and cheeky, playful energy which then whisks the audience into belly-laughs - yes, remembering that this is all natural, all instinctive and all intuitive, is truly remarkable.
This week has been a long process of reopening Jonny’s story and how he wants to tell it and why he wants to tell it this way. There have been no costumes or full tech-runs - that’s all next week, but already the power in this piece is tangible.
I cannot wait to see Jonny reverberate off the energy of a live audience.
It may seem like he has come to theatre late, but this performance about his life and his experiences as a Deaf man proves he is, actually, right on time.