MANSFIELD PARK & RIDE What we owe to Joy...
"Don't worry! You'll be fine: you're blind, and you've got a job to do..."
I'm writing this entry whilst being berated into participate in an ‘audience participation' sing-a-long... not to spoil it too much for you...
Richard's return (as composer) is imminent and a palpable feeling of relief that someone who is adequately qualified to direct the music fills the rehearsal. I'm off the hook (for one day, at least!) Hopefully he will like what we've rehearsed, (with the added dancing)... The only debate that's we've had is whether you, beloved audience member, know Beethoven's Symphony No.9? Come on, you know it! And if you don't, I'd get a listen on if I were you.
MANSFIELD PARK & RIDE Week 3: The Lily of Lacuna or An Actor Pops One In.
The Lily of Lacuna or An Actor Pops One In.
The days may grow shorter and colder but new jokes are busting out all over, as if Spring had sprung betimes down Funnington Avenue. But how can this be? The play is writ: it is untouchable, the hallowed text shall not be interfered with, and each night the High Priest, Ivan, locks it away in the Holy of Holies, the Eastern Angles office safe.But this dear reader is not so, for by both night and day the Tinker Monkeys and Gagsm ths will whip it out, dance upon it, kick it around in the dirt and ADD STUFF. ‘The Lily of Lacuna' is at it again.
MANSFIELD PARK & RIDE Blue Walls
"Yes, that's all very well, but where are you going to stick your gun?"
After a weekend of relaxation, skipping town and return for the morning's rehearsal, your here blogger has been greeted to the third week of rehearsals, which have an energy all of their own. The performance is in sight, all have worked hard over the weekend to get on top of their lines, and even the technical crew are starting to pin us down on set pieces and props.
We were welcomed this morning to walls of blue! It seems Ian and crew were busy over the weekend, putting on the base coat of blue for the beautiful walls which flank either side of the stage.
MANSFIELD PARK & RIDE Flu Jabs!
Today was a strange day... it seems Eastern Angles are providing flu jabs for all its company! Well, you wouldn't want to watch a snotty Lady Fitztightly or Mrs Bonnet all night would you? It's not that we don't trust you, our beautiful audience, its just we know how hot it gets in here.
MANSFIELD PARK & RIDE Pitta & Port....
Rehearsal Week 2.
When it comes to doing Austen you're decidedly in Received Pronunciation Land, and that you might think would be right up my proverbial cul-de-sac, but apparently you've then got to differentiate between them. Peppering the Christmas shows with dubious characters like authentic Arab street traders with Julian is always a lot more pleasant in that you egg each other on to more and more ridiculous excesses; I'm sure there is probably still a fatwa out on at lea t one of us, but with Austen you have to be a bit more held, using muscles to hold up your spine. Posture, Timothy! Also with the Austen, you get the inevitable cry of 'Look at the BBC Boxed Set' hand crafted by Andrew Davies out of lace and Anna Maxwell-House-Martin, and filmed somewhere in Dorset through a catering tub of Vaseline. 'Couldn't you be a bit more like him?'; the subtext to this question is 'Copy him' and is always accompanied by the statement, 'But I don't want you to copy him'. I am similar to Beryl Reid only in this respect; she said start with the shoes and work up. I start with the shoes and although I try to work upwards, I've never been exactly sure what she means, but am confident I will at least have shoes in this performance and they will shine...
MANSFIELD PARK & RIDE Week 2
People aren't really sure exactly what an assistant director is meant to do. Are they the personal assistant of the director? Are they just there to help the actors with their lines? Do they just make the tea for everyone? The philosophy I was taught, and have always experience as the best, is being an assistant to the production - or basically everyone's assistant. So, you could do all of the above, or none, if that's what the production needs.
The other fun bit about being an assistant is that from time to time you get to have some creative influence over something in the show, and my duties for this show included devising the little "dance" numbers for the songs, and rehearsing the music when our composer, Richard, had taught them to the company. This usually means having a vocal warm-up after lunch, and then singing the songs back to back - with some room for working on particular bits during that. Some days we'll focus on one song, and devise the dance-y bit for it, and others will just a recap, doing the songs quickly so we can get back to rehearsing the play itself. The company have done a great job at taking responsibility for their songs though, which has helped rehearsing them no end.
MANSFIELD PARK & RIDE Day 3: What do you mean I have to sing??
The third day of rehearsals and the Musical Director has arrived, so the building is full of singing - musical ditties that we know will be stuck in our brains for the next 2 and a half months! The Designer is measuring people up for costumes, and the set has started to be built. We have just 3 weeks before our opening night, and we've hardly started!
MANSFIELD PARK & RIDE A new cast, and a new script!
Welcome to Christmas!
Yes, for us, Christmas starts on Day 1 of rehearsals, and we've just welcomed Greg, Sally, Sophie, William, Vera and Penny to the Sir John Mills Theatre. The Readthrough is when everyone involved in the production sits down and reads through the script. Penny, our Stage Manager, reads in the stage directions, and everyone struggles to work out which characters they are playing. This is often a surprise to them, as such things are in flux from the very beginning Two hours later and the cast is tucking into a buffet lunch, and wondering what the next 3 and a half weeks might bring....