BLOG; Laura Freeman 'Like a Dog with a Bone'

Mad Dogs

Wed 14 May 2014

Star of Mad Dogs and an Englishman and all round Derby girl Laura Freeman talks what being an actor means and how she gets into roles... 

"Being an Actor means a lot of different things to different people, but for me, being an obsessional crazylady is absolutely essential! The process begins way before rehearsals start, with the first reading of the script. This is a magical moment that you only get to experience once so I always make a bit of a ceremony of it. The best china comes out(…well my favourite mug), distractions are banished (it’s one of the few times you will note my absence from facebook) and I brew a huge pot of tea and settle in to my favourite reading chair. When the pot is cold and I’ve devoured the words, I get out my favourite notebook (see a pattern here?) and write down the first impact the script has on me.  I can’t explain exactly why I do this (obsessional crazylady? I really like tea?) but it does seem to be integral to my journey and I like charting the relationship I am embarking on with my Character and the Play.

By the time we get into the rehearsal room that relationship is well past the honeymoon stage. I will have fallen in and out of love with my character at least 5 times, I will have adored her, feared her, muttered her lines to myself over and over (often on the bus a little to loudly, encouraging the crazylady theme)

I will have tried desperately to understand her, rejected her, tried to change her to be more like me, pondered over her childhood and imagined her dreams. (fortunately I’m much more chilled out in real life relationships otherwise I fear I would never find a boyfriend to stick around for more than a week) But, it’s a lovely tussle and all feeds into the discovery of the Character.

As soon as we are in the rehearsal room, all my research and analysis goes out the window. …. That’s not true, but to a certain extent it is because as soon as the words are being spoken out loud to one another, unexpected things happen and you just have to embrace it. It really is an ever-changing thing.  Every part of the puzzle opens up new possibilities: Andy Miller shows us a model of the set - it begins to become a real world and we can see our Parameters. Eli finds the perfect sound effect and it brings in a whole new aspect to the atmosphere. A perfect example is with my character Flash in The Dog House. Both Tim the writer, Pete the director and I had imagined her expressing her rage in a certain way; sort of bottled up and dangerous. but as soon as we got the first scene on it’s feet it was clear that she needed to be much more “in your face” and challenging with her anger. It just felt right. I love those gear shifts: when you suddenly click into 4th when you’ve been trying to do 50mph in 3rd  (My friend just gave me her car to borrow whilst I’m here in Derby, so expect lots of driving analogies!.....Ps. Haley, I would never do 50 in 3rd in your VW Polo)

Anyway, cut to production week: This is when it gets REAL! Under the lights, walking on our set, wearing the character’s clothes and shoes, with the Guildhall Theatre auditorium out in front of us -it’s the penultimate part of the jigsaw. The process is almost complete. My characters are flesh and blood and all mine now. And I can’t wait to share them with the audience who are the final missing piece. Who click us one notch up into turbocharge. Beep beeeeep!!!"