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full production ignition Day 27

March 29, 2010

the blognoscenti will know that means 24 days to first night – Day Zero being the Sunday after the third, April 24th, performance.

10am Sarah’s very welcoming rehearsal space in Forest Hill. While the actors do a warm up, Katie and I have coffee in the Green Room with designer Annie and helper Lizzie, production manager  Kate (Schofield), stage manager Kate (Driver) and the director’s assistant Gazmend. Followed by a brisk read through in which we take turns to read each block of text or stage direction – thus freeing the actors from feeling they have to give a performance.

Enjoyed that first session with the cast – some old friends Michelle, Charlie,  Tom, Dan; new friends like Ollie and Caroline, who I got to know though the workshops; and Simon who’s almost a neighbour.  I feel a lot of trust with the work and was happy to duck out after the read-through to run around doing producer stuff.

Like paying some modest cash funds raised into the bank, and drawing some petty cash for general rehearsal expenses.

And, if it’s Monday evening, it must be community cast rehearsals. REHEARSALS, please note. The cast have taken their collective quantum one step beyond mere community drama WORKSHOPS!! It’s very rewarding the see the progress they’re making – as individuals and as a group – in a relatively short time.

Once again a lot got done! After Gazmend’s warm-up,  Ollie conducted our voices up and down the scale, then organised us in his Cromwell persona, regimentally. He got us all had to recite together, in the same rhythm: ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ – straight, then leaving blank spaces in the rhythm for specific words – first the “up”s, then the “down”s, then omitting everything except those words!!

Pep talks. Sarah introduced core cast members Dan (Satan), Simon (MD, Beelzebub), Tom (Abaddon), explaining how from tonight the various casts will increasingly be working together.  Annie talked about the design, asking all characters to choose from their own clothes a  ‘neutral’ base costume on top of which their outer costumes will go.

Sarah had the Devils working with Satan, Beelzebub and Abaddon, on the Mary Magdalene / Seven Devils scene. You could already see a shape to the scene.

I meanwhile run the Tunnellers through the routine in Studio 2, and was pleased with what they later showed back to Sarah. She then worked with them, encouraging them to find their own journeys through to their spooky realisation that they were digging up an unconsecrated graveyard.

Simon and Tom led the group singing of The Ballad of Mary Overie AND taught everyone the third verse of The Goose’s Song AND Sarah variously talked and walked everyone through the entire opening, with John Taylor interrupting The Ballad, The Tunnellers entrance, the appearance of the Devil’s Band, The Bishop and The Goose and the singing of her Song which segues into John Crow’s Riddle and we all sing:

‘With a hey ho, jolly Jack Crow
And his merry merry band of outlaws O
Never stumble when he trips
Mad clown of the apoc-apoc-apoc-apoc-apoc- ‘

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