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Performed at The Goldsmiths Student Union on the 21st March 2018 Based on William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' Directed by Grainne Pearson Cockrill

'The Tempissed' was my directorial debut. In my first year at university, The Goldsmiths Drama Society were recruiting a director for their annual drunk Shakespeare production. I had always wanted to direct however the prospect terrified me, despite this, I applied and did not regret it.

The structure of the Drunk Shakespeare performance is that a group of actors perform a Shakespeare play with half the cast are intoxicated. Traditionally it is not rehearse drunk but have the cast start drinking a few hours before the performance and during.

We rehearsed for three months from January after I conducted an audition/workshop in December. During the months of rehearsal there were teacher strikes at the University and therefore picket lines were placed across the University buildings, this included the rehearsal spaces. Despite the protests we still managed to rehearse whilst respecting the faculty picket lines. I only mention this because it added an additional stress to the directing and rehearsal process as the actors became unsure of what was permissible. During this time, I learnt how to respond quickly to events and to adjust expectations, whilst protecting the actors and support staff from feeling defeated by events.

Additionally, the inherited budget constraints meant that we were unable to afford our usual venue at the New Cross Theatre/pub. We also had to consider the picket lines which left us performing in the Student Union Cafe which considerably limited us in many ways. To deal with this I took responsibility for designing the set given the problems with space.

During this process I learnt so much. When I began the rehearsals I was drawing on my experience from East 15 Drama School. This meant that I insisted that the actors actioned their scripts and I devoted time in rehearsals talking about characterisation and blocking the script. Despite the fact the play would last for only 45 minutes I insisted we rehearsed the play in its entirety. It was only when the Chair of the Drama Society saw the rehearsal and said “You realise that firstly, half of this will be cut out and secondly, your actors are going to be very drunk” that I completely changed my far too rigid approach. In trying to create the perfect Shakespearean play I had lost sight of the fact it was a comedy. I cut the script and focused on developing the actors improvisation skills. This was in recognition that the actors who were drunk would forget the script and the actors who weren’t needed to be able to move the play forward. I also refocused rehearsals onto the overall plot of the play and each character's journey so all the actors could pick up where each had left off.

The play was a success and I was given the information that it was the best selling Drunk Shakespeare performance they'd had up to then. The audience enjoyed the performance and the drunk actors failures when they had to change character (as I had double cast some characters in order to keep the cast small and the play short). As Director, I also felt a heavy duty of care to ensure that each actor felt comfortable with their performance and got home safely each night!

This experience offered me so much from stage management, risk assessment, booking rehearsal space and times to handling a cast, a crew and budget. I also learnt the basics of directing and stage managing first hand.

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