With under 2 weeks until we open, rehearsals have begun! Our guest rehearsal blogger Becky from graduate theatre company ZEALOUS has been fly on the walling all week in our rehearsals for 'Pendulums Bargain Emporium', read on to see what behind the scenes antics her fly has been spying......

I saw Pendulums Bargain Emporium at Derby theatre’s DEparture Lounge Festival in 2013. It was the first piece of work I’d seen by Maison Foo and I didn’t know what to expect. Suffice to say I loved it. It was quirky and original, surreal but rooted very much in truth. So when I was invited to observe their rehearsal process I jumped at the chance! Here are a few of my musing from my first week with the Foo …

They start off the day loud and kicking! Warming up with full body stretches, games, shouting, and the occasional howl. The energy in the room is palpable. The Foos are ready to begin!

This week the original opening scene has been reworked by the cast. The Foos meticulously pick apart every detail with a why and a what. Why are they saying this? What is its purpose?

 So when the Foos looked at their Shoemaker they asked themselves, is this story a tragedy for him? Well to answer that question they then had to ask, what is the meaning of tragedy? Was the Shoemaker fated to his end or could he have done something about it? What are the consequences of the passive? The role of the Shoemaker has begun to develop and change; he has new purpose and actions that define him.

Physicality plays a big part in shaping the piece and characters. The opening shop sequence was experimented with by using the 7 deadly sins as inspiration. The Foos find the physicality in each sin. They became driven by gluttony creating hungry, bloated, sluggish characters that started eyeing up the customers for dinner.  Wrath provoked them into becoming sharp and vicious; there movements were quick and aggressive, shoving each other out of the way, waspishly snapping at customers. It’s all about trial and error. If all that comes out of it is a look or a gesture, it’s another layer added. That look might be the action that the scene is devised around. 

A different drive has emerged for Hilary, Beatrix and Sue. They’ve taken on more wolfish characteristics. The trio can now smell your desire for more, and once the pack have latched onto the scent they become predatory, luring in their prey with a paragon of life which can be achieved with Pendulum’s help, all you have to do is buy.

5 top tips I’ve picked up from the Foo to take into my own rehearsals.

  1. Try out every idea. You never know what gem you might glean from it.
  2. Record your rehearsals. If you can’t see it how do you know if it’s working or not?
  3. Eat healthy. If you live on sugar you will crash before the day is done, not so productive!
  4. Invest in a printer you can bring to rehearsals so your script edits are clear, instead of trying to remember why you’ve underlined that word 3 times. 
  5. Don’t try and force it. Take a break, find inspiration in a quote, play a game, whatever will help to get you back in the zone.

With my second week coming up I’m ready to get back into the rehearsal room and see what the Foo do next!


PENDULUMS BARGAIN EMPORIUM will be opening it's doors throughout the UK from the 3rd October at Lakeside Arts, Nottingham. For full tour details go to our touring page