How did you first get involved with Real Circumstance?
In January last year my teacher at Bath Spa University put me in touch with Dan Sherer, the artistic director of Real Circumstance, as he was looking for a young actress for a new play he was making. We met for a cup of tea and he told me about Real Circumstance’s way of working, and about the idea behind Our Share of Tomorrow, which then existed only as a provisional story structure.
How did you begin the creative process?
At Bath Spa, we’re encouraged to work in a very free, immersive way, and Dan’s work appealed to me as it seemed a natural progression from my training. Dan and I began to have regular one-on-one rehearsals to start making the character of Cleo (who, at that point, didn’t have a name). I did not know anything about her: for me, the starting point was to make a list of all the real women I knew between the ages of 15 and 20 who were Northern Irish, or who had a strong imagination, or who had never known their father.
How did your initial research progress in rehearsal?
We unpicked certain experiences and patterns of behaviour of these women, and used them as a spring board from which we created our girl. Through various techniques of improvisation we built up Cleo’s life in detail to the extent that at any moment on stage I know as Cleo exactly who I am, where I come from, and what I want.
Do you use any other techniques to keep the process alive?
To help keep Cleo’s life clear for me, I have a book of her life, which records key events and includes pictures of people and places in her life. I also wanted to explore the character outside rehearsal; for example I write a blog as Cleo (http://tamsinshareoftomorrow.blogspot.com). This wasn’t a conscious decision, but became a useful way to record particular moments that I knew I would need to recall. Cleo also has a Facebook page (search for Cleo Sparks), because I wanted to dip my toe into how she might exist online.
With the first night fast approaching, how do you feel?
Our Share of Tomorrow has been a unique experience for me. I am so excited about bringing it to the Edinburgh Fringe and introducing the world to Cleo!
Real Circumstance’s Our Share of Tomorrow is running at the Pleasance, 4-30 August (except 16) at 13.00.
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