Actors & Rehearsing

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February 6, 2013 by owe2013

“Hello to you out there in normal land!”

PosterSince October last year, me and actor Mike Baughan have been rehearsing and workshopping the script for Own Worst Enemy. It’s a script that for the most part consists of two characters –Andy & his imaginary friend Mr. P – both played by Mike, arguing, talking and interacting with each other (have I made it sound boring? It’s not I can assure you :P). As far as arranging rehearsals have gone, it’s been a dream as we’ve only had to make sure that the both of us were available. Yet, it’s been an interesting experience trying to balance those two characters and have Mike switch character line after line. Having an actor play off against themselves, knowing exactly what they’re going to do next is clearly different from acting with another actor whose instincts you can’t (or shouldn’t) second guess.

Mike & Mathew read through a scene.

Mike & Mathew read through a scene.

There are only about 4 scenes where Mike will act opposite anyone other than himself and due to our tight filming schedule, the rehearsals have been essential and invaluable to ensure that the scenes where Mike will be acting against himself will work and we can ensure that the two performances feel like two performances from two different actors who aren’t privy to the instincts or intentions of the other. Like I said, during rehearsals Mike’s switched characters during line readings, when it comes to filming however, we’ll obviously be filming one character at a time, so of course these scenes won’t come together in any shape or form until we get to the edit. Films are always made or lost in the edit anyway – but you’d normally have some indication of how the scenes will play out – unless of course you’re making a green screen heavy film – which we are not.

Running through a scene

Running through a scene

This is why, last weekend it was so great for us to be able to run scenes and collaborate with one of our very few supporting cast members. We’re very lucky to have been able to get London based Australian actor Mathew Waters on board to play the integral role of Perry – Andy’s (sort of) home help.

And so on Sunday 27th January Mathew gallantly ventured up to a recently thawed out but still no less drearily grey and damp old Birmingham for the day to rehearse his scenes with us. Not only was this was the first time we’ve been able to properly assess how any of the scenes will run or turn out, but it also gave Mike the opportunity to bounce off someone else who knew what they were doing. When we’d previously run those scenes, I’d read for Perry, an essential but not overly productive or fulfilling move. Don’t worry thesps – your jobs are quite safe!

I’ve known Mike for a long time now and have collaborated with him on numerous projects over the last 8 years. He’s a fantastic character actor and there’s literally no stopping him once you yell “action!”. I’ve seen him out act and practically destroy some actors in his film and stage work (including some of the stuff we’ve done together). He wasn’t acting with bad actors, he’s just damn good at what he does. When we’ve been rehearsing and he’s been acting with himself – which is 90% of Own Worst Enemy – it’s not been an issue, as his performances were equally matched, but I knew that I’d have to find a very talented and equally bold actor for the scenes involving Andy & Perry.  If not, the top of the film would be an uneven affair and that’s not the best way to kick start a 90 minute movie.

Mike Kills Mat!Thankfully, via a Round The Twist boxset, Twitter and a random clip from a film, we came across Mathew Waters, a highly accomplished and very versatile actor who’s been acting professionally since he was 8 years old. I had a feeling he’d be perfect for the role of Perry, but wasn’t sure he’d be interested in our little Midlands based production. I took a chance anyway and sent him the script for Own Worst Enemy. Thankfully for us he agreed to jump on board and last Sunday’s rehearsal proved that not only was he the perfect Perry, but was going to give an equally unstoppable performance to Mike’s. Phew!

The run throughs went great and aside from needing to make a few tweaks to the dialogue, the scenes were in pretty good shape. A long way to go and a lot to do before we start filming in May, but things are looking good so far.

More photos from the rehearsals can be seen on our Facebook group here.

Philip Pugh

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