The Valley has hit a milestone, the first table read with the cast. It was held using a site called The Performance Room which integrates with Zoom. The cast read through the script with action lines being read by one of the producers.
It was a great experience to hear the words I wrote many years ago being interpreted by other people. It is also amazing to see actors trying on characters like clothes. Anthony Warren who was reading the part of Don was physically changing his posture and his voice as Don slowly took form. The interaction between him and Sophie Hill who was reading Sara was amazing. Their interpretation of the characters were different than I had considered, but the interaction between them was a chemistry far better than I could have hoped.
After the read there was a lively conversation about the characters. I had dropped about 11 pages off the script during an early draft of the valley. We discussed these pages and Louise Ann Munro who was reading mum was very interested as this gave her more background into the character.
Personally I can see room for dialogue changes. Something that sounded good in my head was hard to perform (I was a little embarrassed). I was also imagining this story in the mountains in the USA, however we have an English cast. The change of location from the USA to the UK impacts on words used and how things are said.
No time to be precious.
One thing I hope I got across in the post read conversation, was that the actor must change what they need to optimise their performance. If it is word order or dropping a sentence, I am fine with that. These people are professionals and they will be creating an entire fully formed person in their mind. They will know the character better than I will, or ever could. Having said that, the director may have something to say. I am just saying I am happy to have them make the work their own. After al,l “we are going to need a bigger boat” was an improv line.
There are more meetings to be had and some rewrites to be done. The producers are now looking for distribution deals and other things as we slowly march towards day one of shooting.