The Jungle Book
When I got the script in my hands it said The Jungle Book, but it was far from the original Disney tale that we are used to. In this edition Kiplings story is reworked by Alexander Mörk-Eidem, the deep jungle of India is replaced with the black and white patterns of Sergels Torg, Stockholm and the tone is no more child friendly, it is dark and futuristic. Though we didn’t choose this play by ourselves I really like it. I liked the different style of it, and the fact that it wasn’t afraid of society issues. It was like a punch in the face. I also liked that it wasn’t just that punch, though it was a serious story it had a lightness and humour to it. However it was a lot. It took me a while to understand it and to see how everything fit in.
When I read the script I wasn’t really sure which character I would like to portray, but the dark side intrigued me more and more. Finally I got the part of Phao – a misunderstood villain. Phao is male in the script but I choose to change the sex, though the deeper I got into the part I felt as Phao didn’t really had a clear sex. I felt like she was insecure and confused. She belonged to the free people but unlike the rest of the pack she had a deep and serious anger against the humans, which comes from the fact that they killed her parents. This made her different, unsure, and lonely, she felt like she needed to claim her status but just got laughed at (prologen). This contribute to her confusion about her sexuality, identity and place. On stage I tried to bring all this. I also worked a lot with reactions, acting in your thoughs without having any line. With such a complex character as Phao it was very interesting but also necessary to portray her in 100%. The costume I was wearing as Phao helped me get into character. The more I wore it the more I felt like I became Phao, the clothes felt like her. On stage I worked in the jacket as a thing, when Phao insecure she adjusted it or pulled it closer to her body. I and Klara worked with the scene where I fool her in a trap with our teacher Björn, we tried out different wills which helped me a lot. It made me see the scene from a different point of view and it made it interesting. I also worked with scene 13, which we had some struggles with getting right and good, together with my fellow actors. The other watched as we did our scene and we got response and changed it till it felt right. It ended up really great!
Off stage I worked in the media group. We had a lot of ideas and luckily our view of the play from a media perspective was fairly alike. We all wanted something fresh, not a stereotyped dystopia. On Spotify we created a playlist with the kind of music we wanted the play to contain, and on Pinterest we created a board with inspirational pictures. The Spotify list included a lot of cinematic music mixed with other instrumental music, but also modern but not mainstream songs. I read the script, wrote down what kind of sound effects we needed and started to collect them. I used a website called freesound mostly, but also soundbible. The sound I was collecting was for example gunshots, helicopter flyby and water dripping everything to create the right atmosphere and to give the play that completeness. Several of our music suggestions got included and we could proceed most of our ideas witch was great!
The meeting with the audience was such a rush. It created another sort of butterflies in my stomach that hadn’t been there during rehearsals. An audience means reactions, so it made me observant in another way. For instance I always took in the audience’s response and listen for it backstage. It also tested our focus, people could talk out loud or gasp during our performance but it only made me more motivated to do better. A live audience is special, but it is nothing like it.
I am very proud of the result. Although I might have seen something else in my mind and we had some struggles, the style of the play became even better than I could expected. It got that freshness of a none stereotyped dystopian.