Welcome to your exclusive Copperfield Content
By Ivan Cutting
Directed by Naomi Jones
Touring 15th Feb-20th May
Week one: Commencing 16th January 2012
So Private Resistance has begun!
The Read Through:
The rehearsals started with a read-through on Monday. The read-through is attended by the full company and is a great chance for everyone to meet each other and hear the play for the first time.
We all really enjoyed Monday, despite having read the script in our own heads there is nothing like hearing the actors read the roles for the first time.
Private Resistance is a cast of five, here is the character breakdown, and this is what the breakdown all auditioning actors would have received:
Diane: 30s, middle-class, doctor's wife now with the omen's Volunteer Service (WVS)
Prue: 19, telephone exchange operator in the ATS
Wilf: 15, boy scout and Diane's nephew. Later woodsman guerrilla.
Tom: 40s, farmer and Group Commander for AU patrol
Frank: 40s, local gamekeeper & patrol leader of the AU unit
Alan: 30's, guerrilla leader from Manchester
Frank & Alan should be played by the same actor.
The roles have been cast as follows (all of their headshots can be seen in the photo section on this page): Matt Addis will be playing the role of Tom, Fred Lancaster will be playing the role of Wilf, Frances Marshall will be playing the role of Diane, Phil Pritchard will be playing the roles of Frank & Alan and Bishanyia Vincent will be playing the role of Prue. The play is being directed by Naomi Jones who directed Return To Akenfield and Long Way Home.
At the read through the first peek at the set design is revealed...but we won't be revealing it on here until after the run as it holds a very special surprise!
The cast have spent the first week in our green room, surrounded by piles of books and information in order to fully research their roles. They have been reading through every line of the play and analysing and ‘actioning' it. This means that when they get to the main rehearsing space in the theatre next week they will really hit the ground running.
This week has been very busy.
Penny is the stage manager for Private Resistance. Penny has been with Eastern Angles now for many years so if you have been to a spring tour show before you will have seen Penny! Penny goes out with the tour for virtually every performance. The welfare of the actors are her main priority, she then runs the show at every venue from installation of the set to dropping of all of the actors back at base and EVERYTHING in between, she is a star.
Penny has spent this week hunting for props for Private Resistance. I think the most exciting thing to witness is the amount of care and commitment to precision that goes into every prop. At one point Wilf will momentarily hold a blue ID book and this has been made to be identical to one that would have been of the time. The props really will be up for close scrutiny-the actors really are drinking real tea on stage, eating real food-the only prop that doesn't actually exist is the needle Diane uses to do some sewing.
This week marketing are busy making sure that the production receives local press coverage and that the press are booked in as early in the run as possible so that the reviews are out for everyone to see.
I have also spent this week trying to track down the interview that Ivan did in the late 80's which ended up being the inspiration behind this whole play. Suffolk Records Office came up trumps and managed to locate it for me in Woodbridge library. You can listen to the interview or read its transcription in these resources.
The stage is under construction in the workshop-the set builder is called Dominic Eddington. Steve Cooney is the production manager and he is in charge of the overall build. There have been several production meetings between Steve, Fabrice, Naomi Penny & Ivan to ensure the staging is amenable to fitting in all of the different places we will be performing.
The real highlight of this week has been a trip we took to Parham Air Museum. By ‘we' I mean myself, Matthew the General Manager, Ivan, Naomi, Penny and all of the cast. We had a fantastic reception there and learnt so much. We were shown a vast array of weaponry which included Churchill's gun (!) but what really struck us all was the sheer ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Auxiliers. The entire cast found this trip incredibly valuable to forming their performances and we are so grateful for the hospitality shown and what we were taught. Phil even had the opportunity to fire a gun (using blanks of course)!
Poor Naomi has been very unwell this week and for the first time in her entire directing career took half a day off.
The set is now in and is pretty impressive in size! It will take a few attempts before it is second nature to put up but by the end of the tour the cast will probably be able to do it in their sleep.
Marketing-wise, Mike Kwasniak has been in this week too to take pictures of the dress rehearsal. These get sent to the venues and press as they are the first glimpse of what the show will be like.
Also, not wanting to give too much away about the set but we have had a sign writer in called Richard Ashley who has not only painted wording on a fine gauze but also on a bright red carpet....
So, opening week in Aldeburgh & Wivenhoe. Karen, the marketing officer spent the first part of the week confirming the guest list which includes press, the board and our fantastic sponsors.
The set is moved on Tuesday during the day and will be the first time the cast have worked together to put it all up. Mike Kwasniak then came and took the dress rehearsal pictures that evening, which once again get sent to the venues and press for them to use as they wish. After Mike takes an entire two hours of photos he puts them on a password protected part of his website. The marketing department log in as soon as possible and whittle it down to 6-10 images that we purchase and use in our publicity, quite a tricky task! Mike then emails them and prints them before lunchtime the following day so that they are ready for the front-of-house displays. Mike is a fantastic photographer and most of the theatre in Ipswich (and beyond) will use him including The New Wolsey & Dance East.
Opening night is always an exciting one. It is normally the first time the cast perform to an audience and there are often lovely surprises when they receive reactions in places they hadn't anticipated. Prior to the show Naomi gives her director's notes and then it's up to them. It will rarely be flawless the first night but really is a great one to attend just as an experience as the cast always end on a huge high. A beautiful bouquet of flowers showed up from our sponsors, Ipswich Building Society! A wonderful gesture and they are now pride of place in the office.
Opening night went very well and the following days sent two five star reviews which we are whizzing around to everyone we can think of as well as proudly displaying them on our website, Twitter & Facebook.
Wivenhoe was a wonderful couple of nights; many people stayed after for the get-out and offered a helping hand which the cast were delighted about. They were also invited to Ian & Jo's house (a couple who live in Wivenhoe) for a late supper which they have said was absolutely delicious. Invitiations for tea/cake/sanwhiches/supper are always gratefully received...
This is possibly one of the toughest weeks the cast have as all performances are one night stands meaning they have to get the set in and out every day. They are also performing six days this week so it will be pretty tiring!