Boys Will Be Boys | Rehearsal Diary Week 2

Poppy Rowley, Assistant Director for Boys Will Be Boys, talks us through rehearsal week two.

“James, can you show us how you stand when you pee?”

For most rehearsals the room is all female, it’s suggested that this allows the piece to comment more openly on the sexism in the action and it definitely changes the dynamic of our discussions.  The few times we do have a guy in with us we often need them to explain certain aspects of intrinsic manliness we just don’t get – like urinating with a penis.  Today James Fortune, Musical Director, is our honorary male.

Boys Will Be Boys rehearsals, Bush Theatre-Headlong - ©HelenMurray-187

Rehearsal Room photo by Helen Murray

He’s also teaching the songs (by soulful artists like Nina Simone, Peggy Lee and Etta James, to name a few); each one takes us deeper into Astrid’s (Kirsty Bushell) character.  These are supported vocally, instrumentally and with movement by Emily Barber, Chipo Chung. Ellora Torchia and Helen Schlesinger.  It’s no easy job, combining jazzy dance moves with acapella artistry, but James and Sarah Dowling (Movement Director) skilfully craft a moving musical tapestry.  The cabaret style makes it intrinsically live, playful and dependent on each new audience – allowing nay, demanding interaction and complete removal of the fourth wall.

It is this cabaret world that cradles the financial world we’re presenting and is our entry into Astrid’s psyche.  Astrid is a workaholic and these exchanges with the audience are akin to Astrid taking part in group therapy.  (People Places and Things, Headlong’s award winning show, comes into conversation.) She is a hard, hard woman who has spent her life not letting people in, not being vulnerable. Being this open is the bravest she’s ever been.  What’s particularly interesting is how Astrid is a victim but arguably the only person to blame is herself, she’s the perpetrator.  She’s trying to make it in a “man’s world” and to do that she’s internalised the misogyny she encounters.  If she fails, if someone pities her, it’s because she’s a woman.  You hate her for her decisions and her mind-set whilst simultaneously empathising with her choices.

The first scene and the last scene are temporally adjacent in the world of the play, with the intervening action bringing the audience up to date on how Astrid got to this moment.  We’re left with open-ended questions that Amy Hodge (director) and Kirsty want to keep open – how did Astrid get to this moment? Why is she feeling like this? Could she have played it better?  This is not a ‘neat’ ending; as Kirsty says, “you’re either in the game, or you’re out of the game”, and Astrid can’t stand losing.


Stay tuned for more updates from the room from Poppy. To find out more about Boys Will Be Boys or to book tickets click here

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Join the discussion @bushtheatre

@Ant_lee @bushtheatre Even though I was by myself it was very dramatic haha. Thank you ♥️
tash
@tashamsa
03 Mar
Congratulations @kingsleybenadir - been a fan of your work since We Are Proud To Present...@bushtheatre, way back w… https://t.co/LMM50s3X2Y
Stephen Kelman
@stephen_kelman
03 Mar
@tashamsa @bushtheatre Must have been so surreal. Congratulations on all you achieved at Bush 👏🥳 All the best for your next adventure!
Anthony Lee
@Ant_lee
03 Mar
@Anna_Sheard @bushtheatre Thank you Anna, I also loved working with you! I’ll have to time a visit when you’re arou… https://t.co/eQj8Lhaxhw
tash
@tashamsa
03 Mar
@tashamsa @bushtheatre Oh Tash! I'm sorry I didn't get to work with you one more time. Have a blast at Sadlers! You… https://t.co/l9eV8UBKJr
Anna Sheard
@Anna_Sheard
03 Mar