Monday, 30 October 2017

Lampedusa in Rehearsals - Week Two: 'Stu, Sand and Storytelling'

Assistant Director Tess Monro shares all the latest news from the Lampedusa rehearsal room in her second blog. This week the team have been exploring the use of space and music, as well as how the story can be updated for 2017. 

The second week of rehearsals on Anders Lustgarten’s Lampedusa has sailed by; the week of “Stu, sand and storytelling” as it has been affectionately christened by the creative team. Specifically, we worked through the play scene by scene focusing less on shape and picture in favour of music, connection and detail.

An essential aspect of week two was working closely with composer Stuart Ramage who has been a constant and invaluable presence in the rehearsal room. Together, we have experimented with the use of music to underscore the narrative progression of the play and the experiences of Denise and Stefano. Following Louise Mai and Andy’s responses to the text with meticulous attention to detail Stu has been able to improvise compositions as we delve deeper and deeper into the play; investigating how we can use live acoustic guitar to enrich our response and exploration of the text and the emotional trajectory of the characters. The interlacing of music into the production has been an illuminating part of our process, highlighting and unlocking key transitional moments in the play. We are confident that with Stu’s original composition our production will be an evocative, affecting and distinctive response to Lustgarten’s distinguished text.

After much discussion with the cast and creative team this week we decided to bring our story forward from 2015 into the present day. From these discussions specific ideas for adjustments to the script were born and presented to Lustgarten, who has generously updated the original text. In 2017 the migration crisis is far from behind us and the switch to Universal Credit continues to threaten the financial security of those relying on the government benefit system; thus, the original themes in the play feel more pressing and urgent than ever. Due to the nature of this play and Anders’ powerful and challenging perspective, it is important to us that our production retains the sense of urgency of the political issues raised in the 2015 production. This we hope to achieve by incorporating contemporary politics for a modern audience, in the spirit of the original text; by challenging the status-quo and shining a light on the experiences of many suffering as a result of socio-political injustices of today.

Week two has also concentrated on combining the space; introducing both Denise and Stefano’s respective worlds and working with Louise Mai and Andy in the space, together. Director Jack Nurse and the cast have experimented with building the sense of connection between Denise and Stefano and their seemingly distinct experiences within the narrative. Specifically, how and when their individual narratives and performances intersect and how to fluidly and imaginatively transition between their stories. The synthesis of Louise Mai and Andy’s rehearsals, the worlds of Denise and Stefano and the integration of music into the narrative has added a vibrant, inventive and dynamic energy to the piece and generated an invigorating momentum as we press on and into week three. 


Lampedusa runs at the Citizens Theatre from 8 Nov - 18 Nov. Tickets from £12.50.
Call 0141 429 0022 or visit citz.co.uk to book.  

Monday, 23 October 2017

Lampedusa in Rehearsals - Week One

Migrants on Lampedusa
Lampedusa Assistant Director Tess Monro offers an account of what's been taking place during the first week of rehearsals, and how Director Jack Nurse has been working with the cast and crew to draw out the core issues in the play.

The first week of rehearsals on the much anticipated Scottish premiere of Anders Lustgarten’s bold, incisive and moving masterpiece, Lampedusa, was a reflection of the urgent and assertive attitude of the play itself.

Lampedusa tackles European mass migration from a global perspective and its impact on British domestic politics. But, more importantly, as Anders and director Jack Nurse were keen to stress on day one of rehearsals, this is a play about the personal experiences behind the politics. It is the story of two strangers finding hope and connection where they least expect it.

 The first two days of rehearsals were spent with Anders Lustgarten. Under his guidance we descended into the deep tissue of the play with table work and group discussion. This process illuminated the enduring vitality of the politics in the play and, crucially, the necessity to maintain the sense of political urgency encapsulated in the original production (Soho Theatre, London 2015). Consequently, Anders proposed to update the original text; to encompass the current political climate in Europe and post-Brexit Britain. Citizens Theatre’s Lampedusa will therefore be an entirely new, cutting-edge and unique production.

 Next order of business was get the play up and on it’s feet. Director Jack Nurse’s process is curated to mirror his overall vision for the production. The play introduces two independent and diverging experiences of mass migration from a global and domestic perspective. As the play progresses parallels between the characters begin to emerge and unite their experiences.

The first week of rehearsals was centered on working with Louise Mai Newberry and Andy Clark individually to get better a sense of the shape and arc of each character within the text. Week by week as we continue to work through the play we will begin to integrate these rehearsals and, furthermore, the physical and emotional journeys of Denise and Stefano.

With the mid-week arrival of composer Stuart Ramage came the infusion of live music into the rehearsal process. In this production the lyrical quality of Lustgarten’s writing and the centrality of Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté’s song Lampedusa will be supported and enhanced by live acoustic guitar. Stu’s presence in the rehearsal room throughout the three-week process will enable the development of a musical score in tandem with the exploration of the text.

Week one has also been about acclimatizing to the intimate performance space of the Circle Studio and confronting the challenges of balancing the contrasting worlds of Denise and Stefano while they inhabit same physical environment. At this stage in the process possibilities are infinite and continual investigation, trying new and diverse ways to respond to the text and use of space, is essential and encouraged.

Week one is not about nailing ideas to the ground but rather discovery, imagination, playing and interrogating ideas; skills that Lousie Mai and Andy demonstrate with verve and dexterity. Working at an impressive and efficient pace we are off to a flying start.






Thursday, 5 October 2017

It’s back! Trainspotting returns to the Citz

After a sell-out run in 2016 Trainspotting returns to the Citizens this month





Audiences and critics were blown away by last year's production.


“And if you want further proof that Trainspotting is one of the great, iconic narratives of the last 25 years, then you should beat a path to the Citizens’ Theatre, where this sharply-timed revival of Harry Gibson’s stage version – emerging just in advance of Trainspotting’s film sequel – is playing to packed houses and standing ovations.” 
The Scotsman  ★★★★★

“everything a theatre production should be” 
Broadway World  ★★★★★

“crackles with a raw new power” 
The Independent  ★★★★

“Nicholls shows Trainspotting still speaks loudly, scabrously and irreverently about urban alienation and young lives under pressure” 
The Guardian  ★★★★

“The cast of five, led by Lorn Macdonald as Renton…make the material their own.” 
The Herald   ★★★★

“To take on such a production takes courage; to both recognise and subvert expectation takes skill; qualities here in thankful evidence” 
The National  ★★★★


Read more about what audiences thought on Storify.


Lorn Macdonald and Gavin Jon Wright. Photo by Tim Morozzo

Trainspotting plays at the Citizens Theatre from 18 October – 11 November, before moving to the King’s Theatre Edinburgh, where it will be presented by Selladoor Scotland, from 14 – 18 November.