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Monika Akila-Richards - disability arts online
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Disability Arts Online

Snakes & Ladders / 21 October 2011

I am tired, exhausted and totally alive. I am rehearsing like an obsessive for Snakes & Ladders. The play is about 3 sisters and family secrets!!!  It's also inspired by stories and memories collected by Positive Hair Day (PHD) project. The actors performing in it have also helped to devise the script and have contributed HAIRstories to the Positive Hair Day project.

I just can not believe that I will be on stage on Friday 21st October at Sallis Benney and Saturday  22nd at the Basement in Brighton.

And what is going on with the current timing of things? I find myself taking part in a pilot school project with Creative Partnership and Afrikaba in Hastings for Black History Month. It is full on to continue preparing, staying alert and interacting with 25 active, eager and not so eager children.

Getting up at 6 am and after school racing back on the train for rehearsals every night. I fall into bed around midnight and whooheee up at 6 am again. I found myself waking up this morning with clenched teeth and try to remember during the day to relax my jaws. I power breath every morning and deep breath every evening, I take extra vitamins and threw my diet out the window and eat well and often.

I told my son, “This week, don’t expect me to cook, clean, wash dishes or clothes. This is so far my most intensive week. I am at present learning my lines for my particular monologue and use a particular method to remember, that includes lots of physicality, visuals, integrating at every space of the day and permit myself improvisation, as long as the context makes sense.

Then with my fellow performers we are rehearsing the cues for our interactions, alongside digital interventions. We laugh a lot and let off steam if necessary. There is a way of staying real and flourishes and niceties are no longer required, but lots of hugs and the sneaky shared cigarette does the trick.

In terms of my character, I can say one thing. I have become fitter, I power up the Brighton hills like a trouper now, all courtesy of the rehearsals. My character is slightly mad and will play this out in her physicality. That is so right on with me.