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  • Ruth Phillips

Producing Mnemonic

Minotaur’s latest show, Mnemonic, is an exciting piece originally conceived and directed by Simon McBurney and devised by award winning theatre company, Complicite. The show is fast approaching and with so many exciting elements of involved in this production here’s a little insight into how this piece is coming together, from a Production Manager's eyes.

REHEARSALS

A phrase Director Josie Dale-Jones has used during this rehearsal process is "each member of the team has an equal role in this piece", from each individual actor and all of the production team. “I am not a Director really, I am a facilitator” and witnessing the rehearsals this is so true of this piece of work, it is wonderfully collaborative.

The script allows a lot of room for creativity and imagination. The ensemble have been hard at work blocking scenes and the precedent that ‘new ideas are always welcome’ and has lead to some gorgeous pieces of movement and very exciting combinations. However, it does mean that you need to keep the production team constantly paying attention as ideas are formed, adapted or changed frequently and we need to be aware of any props are needed, by whom, from where etc. along with keeping up to date with blocking. If focus is lost, we can miss a crucial change.

PRODUCTION

On the production side, Mnemonic promises to be a very exciting show but has its own set of complications. We have had lot of fun experimenting in rehearsals with plastic sheets, wire, branches, rope and many other weird and wonderful props with impressive results. That said, sourcing props has been an interesting challenge.

The joy Stage Manager Angie Peña Arenas felt at being given a sink from a friendly local builder after hours of peering in skips and near bins is yet to be matched.

Designed by Susannah Martin, the set is whilst facilitating the fast past, fluid style, large amount of movement of the piece, creates a gorgeous aesthetic framework for the show.

Along with set, Mnemonic is pushing boundaries by using media, which has bought its own intricacies. Al Simmons, past UEA student, is overseeing film and projection for the piece and following in ‘Complicite’s style there is use of projection in the piece and even live footage.' The results promise to be amazing but this use of technology does bring its own tasks and elements to focus, including having a ‘Technology briefing’ for the actors and crew alike.

Working on Mnemonic has been hard, involved a lot of work from a lot of talented people and my key piece of advise for anyone thinking of production managing a show like this, or indeed any piece, is take joy in the little moments. As a Production Manager is a big role, with lots of responsibility and accountability, it takes a lot of time and organisation to keep on top of. But it’s all the little moments that make all the work worth it and get you excited to work on amazing shows like this. Moments like a gorgeous image made with simply a par can and a dustsheet, moments like the first full run of a complex scene, even moments as simple as finding a sink.


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