BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online


    Eldridge, David Beginning. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

    This is the latest version of this item.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    Beginning is the first in a dramatic trilogy commissioned by the National Theatre. It investigated the possibilities of theatrical realism for our contemporary moment, when ideas of ‘the real’ are pressurised by social media and virtual technology. Nowhere is this more evident than in our romantic lives, where dating apps determine how people meet and develop relationships. How should and can traditions of theatrical realism be updated for contemporary audiences? Beginning sees two characters meet to explore becoming partners. The action is one uninterrupted scene, in real time; neither character leaves the stage. Methodologically, Beginning fuses European theatrical experiments in naturalistic playmaking (e.g. Franz Xaver Kroetz) with a more familiar dramaturgy, the painful English domestic comedy (e.g. Alan Ayckbourn), in a more contemporary setting and idiom. The dramatic focus on the present tests audiences to concentrate on the detail and dynamics of human romantic interaction, and investigates the possibilities of this naturalistic form to hold the action and the audience‘s engagement. The structural relation between two actors in a naturalistic space creates a focus on the themes of loneliness, intimacy, awkwardness and the possibility of progress. In production, Eldridge worked closely with the director, actors and designers to construct a naturalistic world. In rehearsal, we worked broadly in the Stanislavsky method applying its moment-by-moment logical rigour to create an experience which felt ‘real’ and ‘natural’. A crucial discovery in production was of the need to eschew the typical in favour of particularized acting, staging and design choices, even if these initially felt counterintuitive. For example, we concentrated the actors on how nervous people are in romantic situations and how fear can often produce idiosyncratic behaviour.


    Item Type: Other
    Additional Information: Dorfman, National Theatre, 5 October – 14 November 2017. The Ambassadors Theatre in the West End, 15 January – 24 March 2018.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Contemporary Theatre, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2020 11:44
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:49

    Available Versions of this Item


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item