The fourth interview with those behind The Shedding Of Skin, is with our Intimacy & Movement Director Paula O’Reilly
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN INTIMACY AND MOVEMENT DIRECTOR IN THEATRE?
A Movement Director explores, with the performers, how to create characters, focusing specifically on the physicality of the individual character – this can be particularly important in the case of multi-rolling or when embodying non-human characters. Essential to this is knowing how to change the energy in a scene with movement, how to create atmosphere, shift attention and how to aid the director, writer and performers in delivering the narrative and the message of the piece.
Alongside this an Intimacy Coordinator ensures the well-being of performers who are being asked to perform simulated sex scenes or other scenes containing intimate content in theatre, film and television production. I work with companies to ensure that the guidelines for best practice in regards to intimacy on set (developed by Ita O’ Brien) in all aspects, from the audition process to the final result, are followed and adhered to.
WHY WAS THIS IMPORTANT WHEN WORKING ON THE SHEDDING OF SKIN?
The content in The Shredding Of Skin is that of historical sexual violence, against women and committed by women. It was so important that this was dealt with sensitively and I wanted to ensure that in the rehearsal process any scenes of an intimate nature were given great consideration. For one; so that the actors felt safe, comfortable and confident in the performance of those scenes; two, to do justice for anyone who has ever experienced sexual violence in their own lives; and three to make sure I was confident that what we are asking the audience to watch is essential to the storytelling without being gratuitous and unnecessary. It is my first time staging sexual violence and I truly believe that having an Intimacy Coordinator is an essential part to creating this kind of content.
WERE THERE ANY MOMENTS IN THE REHEARSAL ROOM THAT STAND OUT IN YOUR MIND?
The first time I heard the cast sing the last song of the show in the rehearsal room brought me to tears. It is an Italian protest folk song, since adopted by the Kurdish people and now has come to stand for the inherent rights of all people fighting to be liberated from tyranny. It is a beautiful song sung so powerfully by the ensemble.