Rehearsal Blog - Assistant Director Linzi Mitchell

ALL MY SONS A.D. Blog Post 1- Linzi Mitchell

1.2.19

 “There are certain men who would rather see everybody hung before they’ll take the blame…” 

Rehearsals for Arthur Miller’s ALL MY SONS, the Rep’s first production of 2019, are three weeks old. We’ve been busy exploring and unravelling Miller’s gripping story of the Keller family.  The play- set and first performed 1947- has family tension and human frailty at it’s heart while the gradual unravelling of the American Dream remains remarkably relevant in 2019.  This is due, in part, to Miller’s psychological weaving of lies and deceit in the wake of World War 2 with events slowly exploded in the the Keller family back garden over the course of 24 hours.  

I am assistant directing this production- thanks to a Federation of Scottish Theatre bursary- supporting Jemima Levick with her overall realisation of All My Sons.  With a strong design concept already established pre-rehearsal, week one saw us delve into the words of the play.  After a company read through Alex Lowde’s stunning design was revealed; something I cannot wait to see realised on stage.  We researched to contextualise the play with the war still looming large despite ending two years previously.  The play deals with universal themes such as justice, loss, survival, honesty, individual and social responsibility all dismantled within a deeply domestic and external environment.  The first week also saw us round the table discussing the dense and rich text. As we read more and more possibilities emerged throwing question after question at us.  One of the main challenges with tackling Miller is getting to the fabric of what the characters mean despite what they say; Miller is a master with truth fading in and out of view like passing clouds.  Week two saw Jemima begin to sketch through initial choices and character truths to find an early shape for the play.  This is an amazing process to watch.  There is focused energy and a shared goal to guide the evolution of the play layer by layer with choices changed and developed as we go, allowing the actors to find the path along which they wish to take their character.   During week three we started to colour each scene exposing more and more of the layers and refining choices.  In addition, composer David Paul Jones and Lighting designer Chris Davey have both joined us in the rehearsal room.  

An assistant director’s role varies depending on the approach of the director.  One of my main interests is learning more about the process of bringing deeply naturalistic text to life: in this room I see and support this in action.  I’m enjoying the luxury of observing the process unfold, working with a brilliant team and seeing what an effective, relaxed and hard-working rehearsal environment looks like.  I feel very lucky to be working in a venue where so much is done in-house and it’s great to feel part of a big team process. There’s so much activity going on across the building to create every aspect of production.  It’s been great to spend time in different departments and see collaboration in action. 

 Over the next week we’ll be working towards running and tightening - a critical stage considering there’s so much at stake for the characters.  I’ll post again as we approach tech week…

Linzi