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Penny Pepper's Blog - disability arts online
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Lost in Spaces: Harold Pinter and the happy slog of rehearsals. / 28 May 2014

Penny Pepper at recent protest, in between rehearsals of Lost in Spaces.

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For the last few weeks I’ve been closer to home in the Harold Pinter Studio at Hackney Empire for rehearsals of Lost in Spaces. Mare Street, where the Empire is situated, is a vibrant and diverse place in Hackney, East London. From the studio’s large windows, I can look down towards Hackney Town Hall. Once, I was a Rhinestone Roller down there in the square.

Bethany, my director, takes me through some vocal exercises and one in particular really strikes a chord with me. Vowel sounds, over-emphasised, making exaggerated shapes with your lips and mouth. Next, you go through the alphabet, adding a consonant, starting with B. BAY BEE BI BO BOO. And on through to Z. I change my tone and my speed. I slide up and down a scale. My throat feels a little tight to begin with but I know it is building up strength.

The poems which have been crafted with much effort with John O'Dongahue a firm guiding hand, are very close to being the best they can be. It's scary to allow myself to let them be, as much as it is to keep honing.

This week we do the first complete run through of Lost in Spaces - albeit with stops and starts and as yet no real props.  There are three sections to the piece, allowing me to ‘rest’ for 3-5 minutes off stage, during transitions that will most probably feature tracks from my 90s LP, “Spiral Sky”, with a photomontage. But John counsels me and I listen - mostly.

Next time, off to Rich Mix in Bethnal Green for rehearsals – not to forget a chance to do a tiny preview of the show at Daisy Fest in Guildford on June 4th. Hope to see lots of you there!

As time passes with all this work and development on Lost in Spaces, I’m excited as much as I’m nervous.