Day 50 / 50

March 6, 2010

50 gone. 50 to come.

The 50 to come are the ones we’re counting down, to the day when this is done and, we hope and pray, done well.

Early on in this 100 day countdown blog, after a testing Day 89, I jocularly compared myself to a prisoner, scratching on the wall the days until his release, the days until I could stop being a producer with many responsibilities and resume life as a free-wheelin’ bohemian poet, performer and purveyor of unusual walks!

Now, it’s more like a scary countdown, a reminder of how quickly tempus fugit – and how drama productions are microcosmic lesson in the life-art of carpe diem! We have, fortunately, got a lot of our operating systems in place and much that has been done has been well done, so far.

This evening, from 6.15, we had our ‘lock in’ at the Cathedral, to test our seating plan. The head verger Paul has been very supportive of Sarah’s wish to rearrange the seating so as to create a more central performance area. This will enable  a much more dynamic use of the space, the sense  of being surrounded by the drama.

The new seating does mean we lose yet more seats. At one stage we were nearly 40 seats short of our, already reduced, target of 360 seats. We tried a couple of variations which brought us up to 340.

Of course, we could cram up to 600 in – but, since everyone buys the same ticket, it would be unfair to sell tickets with really dreadful sight-lines, which you do get in a Cathedral with stone pillars.

Aware that Paul had done us a big favour by letting us in after-hours and was now impatient to get home, I indicated that 340 may be the realistic number of seats – and we called it a night. It was, despite a certain amount of inevitable stress, an invaluable evening. As well as getting a clearer idea of how many tickets we actually have left to allocate – given that we’ve already sold more than a hundred tickets each night, with others promised to our funders.

It  also gave us a chance to test the acoustic of the Cathedral. I walked around with my guitar singing: The Ballad of Mary Overie and got to speak  God’s opening lines from the pulpit, then Sarah got everyone to speak a few words from different parts of the Cathedral.  There’s a lot of echo – important to guard against cacophony!

Huge thanks to our volunteer helpers – Andy (Chair of Southwark Mysteries), Jacqui (Trustee), Ian (formerly of the Cathedral Shop) and Matthew (Katie’s brother). Myself, Katie, Sarah, Kate Scho and designer Annie were also there and we all mucked in with the moving and resetting of the chairs.

Thanks most of all to Paul the Head Verger, for his patience and understanding.

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