TIHIMY is the story of our first meeting, our first time, our first love, our first heart break. It relies strongly on personal stories from the actors in order to correctly portray all the different emotional states present during these human interactions. Because the sharing of these stories often evokes a myriad of emotions from our actors, we have to be very careful to create a safe space where they can be shared. When it comes to presenting the truth of these stories on stage, not only do we have to act out that experience, but we have to relive it. To contribute a story is a huge personal investment. Watching the room empathize with elements of your story as you tell it can be both comforting and painful, but the support you get afterwards makes it feel safe. The directors of TIHIMY have gone above and beyond to tailor our rehearsals in a way that will make the actors feel comfortable sharing such intimate stories.
However, issues can arises when someone’s personal story is shared in its rawest form, and then re-created to speak to a larger audience. How do we present these stories with the respect that they deserve, showing both truth and emotional connection on stage, when what is being performed only contains specific fragments of the original story shared?
Sometimes when a story is shared, it’s just so rich in its rawest form that it speaks clearly by itself, and doesn’t need to be reworked to better encompass audience emotions. However, more often than not, the stories we share in rehearsal have the option to be enhanced to better connect with the audience. To not do so would put up a wall between the actors, and the audience, as not every audience member is able to relate to such a personalised story. With help from the directors, and the other actors, the story begins to grow into something else. When this happens, there is a need to respect that even though the finished product may not reflect the initial story exactly, every actor in the room can interpret the story in their own way, and build on it from their experiences in a similar situation.
When we devise, we delve so deeply into the emotion of the stories we share, that what we create is a new experience of that story. If we allow ourselves to create this new version of a story, then we have the opportunity to draw from all the actors experiences’, to create a performance that portrays a wider span of emotions and experiences. Thus, we build a stronger, and more relatable performance for the audience. TIHIMY explores the many emotional states and experiences felt during a relationship of any kind, and presenting stories that are relatable to our audience is our most important endeavours.