has a tenuous relationship to reality. In the play, this is pointed up by a croquet match which is played without balls or mallets, and at the end, thefaamily's reluctance to leave their ancestral home.
When we took our group to see this play, we had the privilege of having eight members of the cast come to talk to us afterwards. Mike and I were eager to see it a second time, to bring our knowledge of the characters to bear on the story from the outset, and to hear more of the actors' experience of working on the play.
Josie Rourke, the Donmar's Artistic director, introduced Eileen Walsh, David Ganly, David Dawson, Emmet Kirwan and James Laurenson, and asked them if director Lyndsey Turner had been giving them notes since the play opened. Eileen said that they'd had two rounds of notes: Lyndsey comes in every week, and gives notes every other week. David Ganly gave an example: as an outsider to the family, Lyndsey had suggested that in the picnic scene, he should try playing it as though he'd never been invited to this sort of party before, and act as though he didn't know how to behave.
Pointers like this help to keep the performance fresh. Emmet agreed; every day when you wake up, you are not the character you are playing and actors have to think about how to keep their performances alive and vital.
Josie said that her experience of auditioning actors when they are working on another play reflects this - she always has to factor in that their whole being is geared to the performance that they will be giving that evening, not a future role!
Eileen asked Josie how often she gives notes on her productions. Josie answered that she dislikes giving "company" notes; she prefers to do this privately. She added that in the British theatre,