Rosa Duncan – notes from the rehearsal room – end of week one!

Our first week is over!

With the festival just days away, we are beginning to see the sight of technical rehearsals in the distance.

Our story begins in the Ettrick Valley in the lowlands of Scotland 200 years ago. Our characters then undertake an enormous journey, climbing aboard a large ship with many other travellers and then again travel on foot from Quebec to Toronto. Along the way, the qualities of environment change significantly – from the open lands of the farming valley, to the confinements of the busy ship. The upper deck may give you the open waters and, on a good day, endless skies but below deck people are living in shared open spaces, using only their clothing to create sleeping arrangements. People are hanging up a piece of “plaids or shawls to make a half-private space for their families’.

These families travelled aboard for eight weeks.

The sea could often be a hostile host – providing passengers with challenging days.

Week One: we experiment – which textures could we use in our performance to take the audience with us on this journey?

We began to play with the text, with sound and with movement.

On Tuesday evening, we recorded with the wonderful Castle Chorus choir who prepared psalms and worked with Pippa Murphy’s arrangements to provide us with the materials to create the world of our story.

Using a blend of their voices, sound and live music, Pippa Murphy are to create the world for which the story will float on top of.

With the help of Janice Parker, we played with the objects that passengers would have with them. Families at that time would have had to carry with them the entirety of their homes. These items were essential for the family to begin their new lives in a foreign land. In the same way, our items now become the essentials for our storytellers to tell their tale. Our joy was to find the wonderful ways in which these can be used to create the rich qualities of the writing.

A fantastic range of options available to us, we take a day off – the calm before the storm.

Rosa Duncan is Assistant Director on The View from Castle Rock 

Image: Simon Donaldson & Brian James O’Sullivan in rehearsal