Thursday, 29 March 2012

Rehearsal Diary - Moby Dick

I’m late with my blog.  I know.  I am sorry.

That’s sort of the way of things the week before opening night.  Suddenly the best laid plans seem to be moving too slowly or some evil creature from another universe (maybe even an alien mythical great white whale…) seems to be eating up huge chunks of time, but so quietly you’d never know it.  Sneaky.

In the illustrious words of Douglas Adams though DON’T PANIC!  Really.  Things are actually under control and the levels of stress are just indicative of the sort of furious drive to perfection that fuels the best theatre making.  But let me take two minutes over a steaming mug of coffee to bring you up to date.

Last week we were hurtling though the script and figuring out how to make best use of the phenomenal space at the Bierkeller.  The alchemy that is the mix of venue, actors, direction and script began to weave its dark magic and the patchwork of scenes started to develop an intensity and integrity that made them at once exciting and compelling:  In one dream sequence we experience being alone with Captain Ahab, living with the heart and heat of his obsession, feeling the way around its rough, compulsive edges with him; in another we are chortling along with Stubb and Ishmael and the crew, developing in our familiarity with them as they do with one another on this voyage; in a third we chase whales across the ocean and follow the lances, eager for them to hit their mark…

The Bierkeller is a fabulous venue for all the reasons you’ll see next week and beyond (if you aren’t already familiar with it that is) but it is dark and in comparison to the Mediterranean temperatures we are experiencing outside at the moment, it’s a tiny bit chilly.  One of the highlights therefore, of last week was taking the team out on the river to rehearse on one of the Bristol Ferry boats.  The actors had the chance (in addition to receiving their weekly quota of fresh air and light) to practice their sea shanties, rehearse key scenes from the play aboard ship, ask questions of the ferrymen pertaining to knots and nautical navigation and to spend some quiet, reflective time in character contemplating their relationship with the water and with a life aboard ship.  I won’t lie.  It was useful, productive, even.  It was however also damn good fun too.

Which is something nice to reflect on as this week we fret about soundboards and laptops and projectors; when we wonder if it is possible to ever have enough rope and whether we’ll reach the end of the stagger thru before the weekend descends upon us and we hit the tidal surge of tech and dress that awaits us, almost as though it were our destiny…

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