Rehearsal Notebook 1

Wednesday

A real start on Act 1 of Brian Ford’s new script today after our Musical Directors had led a couple of music sessions. A breathing, stretching and focusing exercise was rather ruined at a critical point by one of our younger cast members shouting out:-

‘Matt I can see your boxer shorts”

-serves me right for taking part in the exercises I’m leading. Also an early indicator of one of the challenges of this years production – a significant increase in the number of younger performers. Balancing crowd control with directing rehearsals is a tightrope that I fell off several times in a very short two hours. Could be a bruising journey.

We introduced a beat to the traditional zip zap boing before exploring the physicality of various characters, focusing down on Dame Trott and Jill. We found that Trott is slightly pigeon toed whilst trying to move with a models poise and a rather fantastic bum wiggle! O and she also carries a bag – no doubt a counterfeit Gucci or Channel. Jill was harder to pin down – light on her feet she skips but doesn’t preen. I’m not sure we learn’t as much here….

The fact of the matter was I spent far too long away from the text (mainly in a futile attempt to achieve focus in the room). We’re going to have to find ways of managing the reharsal schedule. Text wise we sttarted with the school room scene and made some progress – though we were short of two of the school children. We’ve extended the text slightly following an improvisation led by the younger cast members but now it is a little too long. Rhythm’s not quite right and it needs a few more gags – but the song we’ve added at the end, together with the bobbing up and down is working well.

Worked through the preview scene with the good fairy – relatively easy before moving onto scene I proper. With Desi (our producer) reading in Silly Billy. Our dame and principles are shaping up nicely!

Sunday

Good turn out for rehearsals today – tried dividing up the group to keep everyone busy most of the time – but some of our cast do need constant attention (that tight rope again) and I was grateful for the timely interventions of one of our MDs Greg!. Still we achieved more than we did on Wednesday. We moved the opening of Act One proper – complete with an alternative orchestra. Its roughly hewn at the moment but has potential. Our conductor is charming but has no real concept of what a maestro does so some work needed there and the orchestra needs to focus!

Setting all that up took rather longer than planned so we had to rush straight into the first main Daisy the Cow scene. As our Dame fell for the first time he landed on poor old Daisy’s foot leaving both rolling around the stage in agony. Such finds are gold dust and lets hope we can keep that feeling – perhaps without the pain!

Moving on we looked at the first love scene. We have a strong pair of leads who are going to need little direction. heard our first love song for the first time – hopefully the surprise I felt on hearing it will be exactly the reaction of the audience. Also added the Jillettes and the Jackos – backing groups with attitude.

Then with time running out I saw Fairy Nightshade and the two brokers men rush who had been working up scene 2 in the kitchen! There is a nice energy developing and some great comic potential and its where we’ll pick things up next week.

Lots coming out of this week – but plenty more to do!

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