Day 11 in the Big Harrogate Theatre

By Tim Stedman

Gordon (Widow Twankey) and I spent this morning doing interviews and ran lines from various scenes before we all continued with Act 2 rehearsals.

The full adult company of 8 is involved in most of the final half of the show so we limp more slowly through these scenes as each actor raises their questions and suggestions re: character, plot, lines and in my case even sentence constructions.

Our poor director of course faces this barrage from all 8 highly opinionated cast members.  Having known Phil for some years now I’m acutely aware of his stress moments and when to choose ones battles.  So ignoring such maturity I launched into the fray for which I had no ownership rights or solution.  Long ago a director once told me “don’t criticize that for which you have no solution.”  I think the theory goes that criticism is only positive if you’re armed to help put things right.  Now I was an actor barely eloquent enough to say his own name, my usual comments of “it doesn’t feel right” or “but I don’t like that” or even the one we’ve all hidden behind “I don’t think my character would do that” is neither positive nor arming to put things right.

But in our happy company somebody more eloquent agreed and gave it a reason; someone else provided a peer solution; myself, thought of an exceedingly bad idea, which another took on and improved; before out of nowhere another actor had the idea that we all agreed was best!

So criticism is fine and I don’t think you personally need the solution – but as a company you need to find one.

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