Roost Devising Logbook

Dear reader,

Here follows edited highlights of emails sent from Director Amelia Bird to the rest of the production team during the first two weeks of rehearsals for our new show Roost. We were on a farm, some things probably seemed funnier at the time than they do now…

Logbook Entry: Three Days of Devising

Many apologies for the lateness of the first log from devising town. The internet has not been our friend. We are now on speaking terms, but still regard each other with some suspicion.

Our first day was a whirlwind of excitement, no one got lost (apart from Annie very temporarily). Lunch eaten, and delicious Worboys’ homemade elderflower cordial presented the first business of the day was to establish what questions we need to answer in rehearsal and also what we already know about the show. The latter was aided by Ben who gave us a tour of the house. The house is amazing, even beyond what photos had suggested. Wherever the performers stand it in they are framed like a picture. I want to make every show in it. I want to live in it. It is a palace of possibilities.

Perversely with such a construction nearby we spent the afternoon building our own homes in the field. Features included grass walls, aphid art, tunnels to other dimensions, and rabbit poo flooring. Dinner was prawn rice cooked by Katie. The fresh air sent us straight to a deep sleep. Apart from Ben who I didn’t know until today got his bedding stuck in the barn and nearly froze to death, can someone in London check him for frostbite please.

Day two was choc-full I can barely remember what happened. We made characters, we talked about what we’d like an audience to experience, we planned journeys to the house, we discovered that someone running into the distance is hilarious from the house. Sam Worboys popped in with dip dabs and party rings. YESSSSSS.

Day three was a tempestuously rainy little bugger. I cursed the sky several times, it cursed us back. We are keen to rehearse as much as possible in the space, it is utterly different to indoors. Olly had the flash of inspiration that if we could tarp the roof of central section we can use it in all times. Will the structure withstand it? Could someone bring some light tarp/plastic covering of any kind out on Friday perhaps? Also the floor is a bit slippy whether wet or dry, so we are wondering about how it could be treated/painted to not be in the future?

We ended the day with a run of our first scene, props we currently have in use via the power of mime:

-          A rug
-          A duvet
-          2 pillows
-          A toilet roll
-          2 pans

These are not things we need at all yet and may change, but I’m just writing them down so I don’t forget later and to plant some seeds in your noggins back in London town.



Log entry: Thursday

Olly: Chest

Katie:  None

Amelia: Right thigh (just the right one) and back

Annie: Nose

Phil: Back

Matt: Head

These are the body parts we have sunburned today.

It has been a day of good discoveries, we have one and a half sequences blocked and we know more and more about the logic of our slightly oddball world with every action choreographed.

We have designated two doors in the house and one small gangway where audience shouldn’t sit.

You can fit 4 logs into a pair of jogging bottoms with you…if you are Olly.

Eating grass makes you gag. Clover stalks however are sweet and tasty to chew.

Phil taught us some things I don’t know about rhythms. She has left us but will return with Bryan and Dawn tomorrow which is exciting.


Addendum: it has been remarked that in my last logbook entry I mentioned that Annie got lost but neglected to mention that I did so much more dramatically. I went for a run, I was lost for an hour. One wheatfield looks much like another wheatfield apparently.


Logbook entry: Friday

Ah black sky a thousand hatreds for you (except from, from Olly who rejoiced wildly as depicted in the attached photo). Dawn and Phil and Bryan and Ben arrived, bringing with them an almighty 6 hour thunderstorm. They also brought tarp, theatre-watching eyes and an awesome lunch, so all was forgiven.

We enjoyed a very wet game of samurai, but retreated into the barn to finish choreographing our two introductory scenes. They sky cleared for the farm-dwellers to present a run of what we have so far which was a very useful exercise.

Discoveries of the day:

-          Static blocking is bad in our space.

-          The logic we have established for the part the audience plays in our world is fun.

-          The humanity of the characters is coming through. We have avoided black and white stereotypes.

-          Musical and costume inspiration has been gleaned.

-          We are confident we can fit 150 people in the house.

-          Broccoli should always be pan cooked with lemon and oil.

-          Out of our crew  I am assumed to have the most fun uterus to live in. We think there may be a slide and ball pool in there. I DO NOT KNOW HOW THIS CAME UP IN CONVERSATION.

We have much to learn but have had an excellent first week, solid theatrical base established.

Log at end of week one OUT.

Logbook Entry: Rehearsal Part 1 Wrapped

Hi pals,

I’m writing from London, yes London we’ve left the farm for now.

Wednesday was our last day of devising before the break and I woke thinking ‘oh well, if we don’t find an ending today I can think about it over the next week and a half and then…..’ BUT HOLD THE PHONE we only went and smashed out an awesome ending didn’t we?! We’re all very happy with it. It’s an exciting and emotion-tickling audience experience even before we include set, light and music elements (Phil has just played me a draft of the music for it which is sounding super sweet).

Simon, Phil and Dawn arrived and we had a good chat about lights and sound. Dawn is creating an uber-schedule for the final two weeks which should make the remaining tasks and roles really clear, so please get back to her asap if she asks you about availability etc.

Our day ended with a really useful full run and some handy feedback from Siphawn (new combo name). To get my brain straight I did some storyboarding yesterday reacting to the feedback, it’s totally illegible and will probably change, but I’ve attached it in case people want to see roughly where I think we’re heading in the next couple of weeks.

I shall wrap up now with another MASSIVE thank you to everyone for everything so far. I know there’s a lot more to do, but we’re in a really good place to achieve it and achieve it REALLY FRICKING WELL. I like this show. Yeah that’s right. I like it already. This never happens.

Love in all your faces xxx



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