2004 - Ask Not
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Second-Generation Artists 3: Natalie Hennedige

Sean: Can you describe in detail your journey as a director/collaborator?

Natalie: [...] Another method I used was something I picked up as an actor working with Alvin and Haresh in ABUSE SUXXX!!! There was this exercise where we were asked to put on random costumes within a very short span of time and then we were given characters which had very little to do with what we were wearing and we'd start a scene. So I used a variation of that exercise in Lanterns—I gave them random costumes and they started a scene. And that was how the taxi driver character was born! Mani played the taxi driver. I had no idea that I was going to incorporate this taxi driver character. At first I was a little worried about Mani, because he wasn't a very experienced improviser. I mean he had a lot of strong qualities as an actor and his comic potential was a gift from God, but he was uncomfortable with random improvisations. But once he discovered the character of the taxi-driver, his improvisations became unbelievably powerful. A lot of the text that he came up with, I used verbatim and the audience really loved it.

In most cases, this kind of work is transcribed by a volunteer, but I decided to do the transcribing myself, so that I could 'craft' it on the spot. It was a tedious process but very effective. I cut and pasted on the spot, pressed pause and re-wrote certain segments... I was able to capture the best of what the actors had to offer, craft and mould it to suit where I wanted it to go.