Noughts and Crosses – Director’s Blog Week One

Daunted at first by the Oxford drama scene I was scared to put on my own show, but after acting in an unconventional and original production-Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls- last term that was personally and theatrically rewarding for me, I thought why not? One of my favourite books at school was Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman and the RSC adaptation of the novel is one of my top-ten theatre performances. I thought it was time to dive into the deep end and take my armbands off.

The process of getting a cast together is much more difficult than I originally perceived: from audition slots clashing, people dropping out and what sometimes to be just plain bad luck, I still haven’t got a complete cast yet. Although the play is being performed in 7th week, the complex relationships and social context of the play demands adequate rehearsal time- but I’m not worrying…

What worries me the most is that I won’t find enough black actors in a play with at least 10 different characters that need to be non-white: some might say that I should have thought about this, but I initially saw this as a challenge rather than a big obstacle. The fact that many students of other ethnic origins have showed their interest in participating has opened up a new angle to the play that I hadn’t necessarily thought of at first.

Well the venue is sorted at least: the new Simpkins Lee theatre at Lady Margaret Hall is a really exciting performance space that enables me to be technically adventurous. Over the summer I saw some really interesting pieces of theatre from some great companies: Kneehigh and Shared Experience utilise sound and lighting to stimulate the audience’s imagination and inspired me into thinking of ways I could heighten the audience’s emotional response to the play through technical aspects.

So far the popularity of the book has generated a lot of interest in me putting on a dramatic adaptation which is brilliant: I already have a producer, production manager and co-director who are all equally passionate about this production which revs me up even more.