In February this year I got the privilege of being asked to perform as the News Reporter in Coney Theatres performance Early Days (Of a Better Nation) which was being shown at Warwick Arts Centre.
Early Days was a very audience interactive performance which couldn’t fully be rehearsed until we were stood in front of the audience working with their political ideals and resolutions to the fictional situations we had presented to them.
The idea of the piece is that all the audience members were called into a meeting room to discuss solutions to the current problematic situation of Colonia. Colonia is a fictional land, just leaving a revolution, but it hopes to provide a fictional platform for audience members to find and explore real solutions within. Coney’s hope is that this allows the spectators to be liberated in what they wanted to say, and that certainly seemed the case.
My role within the performance was to act as an outside eye, a news reporter, who framed and summarised what was going to happen and what had previously happened to the ‘live bbc audience back in the UK’. In order for this to be relevant I could not write any of the text before the performance began, other than the opening text I had. I was left to frantically piece together the information, and the quotes, and the witty news reporter slogans as the rest of the action was happening around me. My note pad eventually became a scrap heap of words and squiggles which I then had to find time to decipher and shape into one piece of text. It was certainly a rush but a good thrill nonetheless, and what I said had seemed to of paid off.
At certain intervals I would then relay the news, via a camera and humongous screen, to ‘the audience back in the UK’, by which I really mean the audience in the room. My job was to subtly recap on what has happened and also put pressure on to make a decision within what was to happen next.
It was a challenging performance to undertake, especially with just over a day of rehearsals, but it was great to be involved in it, and to experience the exciting work of Coney Theatre first hand.