Friday, 19 August 2016

The final march begins

A few drops of rain fell as I was walking into rehearsals this morning. I was under trees at the time, so I heard them, but didn't feel them. They're the first spots of rain we've had since we came to Sevenoaks. The weather has been truly beautiful all week. At 9pm, after rehearsals, we walk, in a giant crocodile, back across the fields to the boarding houses. There's always the last remnants of a sunset against an electric blue sky and the air smells of grass and late summer flowers. It's really very idyllic here.

Yesterday was perhaps even more difficult than Wednesday. A few of the cast have come down with a sickness bug. Sally spent the afternoon in bed. Coraleigh lost her voice entirely and inexplicably. It suddenly reappeared in the evening. All very strange! Still, we're on the homeward straight as of tomorrow, so everyone's got their heads down and we're pushing through. We shall emerge triumphantly like a glorious army from the mists of battle. Rehearsals are still a heck of a lot of fun. If anything I'm laughing more than I was yesterday. Although that might be hysteria...

One of the young stage management team came up to us yesterday brandishing a letter which he was checking was okay to be used as a prop in the show. He wanted to know if we needed the letter to look a bit more stained and bashed up. "Would you like me to do some tea-bagging?" He asked. I quietly turned purple.

We had an amazing session yesterday on Could Have Been with Robyn, Spin and Laura. All three are heart-breakingly beautiful actors with extraordinary instinct. Robyn's voice is remarkable. At the end of the session, Hannah turned to them and said, "I don't think you'll find a set of actors in the world who could have done that scene as well as you guys just did."

The cast are remarkably committed to the material, particularly the cast members from Yorkshire. I overheard Lucy Carter saying that the further she gets into rehearsals, the prouder she feels to come from Yorkshire. It was genuinely the most heart-warming thing I've heard this week.

I spent the day yesterday bare-footed - bohemian style. I always direct theatre and film barefooted, but because I'm not the director of this show, I've fallen into the habit of wearing shoes, which is an experience I genuinely don't overly enjoy. I find it very restricting for my enormous Hobit-like flat feet! Walking around barefoot is an extreme sensory experience which I'd recommend for anyone. I think my feet are frightening the cast a little. Laura calls me a hobgoblin and T'other Lucy pointed at my feet and said "that big toe is enormous. It's like a head."

Half of the cast left us at lunchtime yesterday to travel up to Leicester to see the NYMT's production of Spring Awakening which is running at the Leicester Curve until Saturday night. I'm rather glad that not everyone in the cast decided to go as the journey was a long, tiring one, and we had enough people left behind to do some good work. We mostly worked with the girls whilst outside the boys ran through dance routines and the band ran sequences with some of the actor musicians. We're certainly working in a level of detail which is very exciting. As with every project I've done, I wish we had just one more day to finesse things properly.

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