Over 28 years of theatre making, Complicite has adapted, created and been inspired by a variety of texts from a Steve Bell cartoon to Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
Working with the text was a major component of The Master and Margarita devising process, and often the most daunting part as in this particular case we were adapting an incredibly detailed novel with a cult following. It sounds obvious, but the first thing to do when working with a text is very simple:
- Read together: It is vital that everyone has had a chance to properly read and think about the text you’re using, so there is nothing better than sitting down in a circle and reading it together. Everyone can take a page or a paragraph to read aloud.
- Talk about it together: Then it’s important to talk about what’s happening in the text. Even if someone thinks they understand everything about the text already, there will be unexpected insights in a group discussion, just by virtue of being together and thinking out loud. It is clear from Complicite rehearsals that the most powerful research is that which can be experienced and explored as a group. It is crucial that the group has a shared understanding of the central themes and images to be used.
As a starting point, we find this infinitely more effective than reading silently and alone.
Words: Sasha Milavic Davies/ Image: Sarah Ainslie