It was suggested that now the actors were more intimate with the characters and had been demonstrating considerable improvisatory skills, setting them on a piece of the novel (description, narration and dialogue etc) to play with as they fancied might be an interesting exercise. It certainly was.
We explored chapter 15, the ‘Lunch at The Rendezvous’, shifting tense, allowing them to take lines and description they felt most appropriate or inappropriate to their characters, leave out lines, improvise dialogue etc. We wanted to see how much pure Pym narration could be used theatrically and how much it might hinder. We were surprised by the results. It could take a lot.
We had to constantly remind ourselves that this is a novel. Obvious I know, but you can’t pretend it is something that it is not. The big attraction here is that Pym is a novelist who has written four theatrical characters with wit and acute detail in an incredibly economic way and we must honour that aspect of the creative process to make it its best. Her voice must be there in any adaptation and by embracing that it made our experimenting easier.
One of the most wonderful things to have discovered is how these four people are moulded by the office and their detached relationships with their colleagues and how they are preoccupied with each others lives. And once they are held tight within that office environment how that effects the story and how it is told.
By the end of day three, myself and the writer were both fired by the script and visual possibilities for this story and how exciting it will be to be able bring a new angel and audience to Pym’s brilliant writing.