Thursday, 26 May 2016

First day back at school..well sort of...

...that's what the first day of rehearsals feels like! This special day is always filled with so many emotions - excitement, trepidation, fear... It all boils down to the moment that you have to open your mouth and speak the lines you have been appointed to speak, and you're hoping you don't mess it all up and the director realises they have made a horrible mistake...

Of course, the lovely thing is that everyone else is in the same boat! Looking around the room seeing your new family for the first time - the people you are going to be spending the next 10 weeks with. Complete strangers at 10am on Monday, but who by 4pm Tuesday you've jumped on the back of or professed undying love for (their character not the actor by the way!).

It's a funny feeling that never really goes away. Our first day this week for The Comedy of Errors was terrific, and any fears one had of others thinking "Is he REALLY going to do it like that?!? Hmmm...Bold choice" were instantly dispelled. For me there were lovely familiar faces who have worked with GSC before and have become great friends, as well as being new people to play with. In fact for 4 days now we haven't stopped laughing! I'm exhausted!

This week we've also had some form of publicity event every day - set up photos, BBC filming, rehearsal photos - so choosing one's outfit for each day has been incredibly important, naturally.

The BBC filming was for a regional news story for BBC South Today, where we, along with Salisbury Playhouse, Newbury Watermill and Southampton Nuffield, are being profiled. The programmes are being aired in June (I will try and find a link so those out of the region can watch on line). It was very strange to have a film crew with a camera and sound boom under your nose in the rehearsal room, because - to borrow a phrase - 'what happens in the rehearsal room stays in the rehearsal room'. By that I mean that this is private place for artists to try things out, get things wrong, mess up, speak their thoughts and 'play'. Put a camera in there and you naturally feel the need to 'perform'. The crew were very sensitive however and the cast being filmed were fabulous.

I do love the fact that despite all the modern technology we have in our world, the rehearsal room is still a sacred, secret place - the foundry, the workshop, where the alchemy of performance takes place.

Errors is a bonkers play, and I will write another blog about the play later. This first week of rehearsals is about finding our style of playing, getting the story clear and mapping a blue print for the 'shape' of each scene. Importantly charting our own characters stories through the play. Whilst at the same time discovering your character's relationships to others and as actors and director creating the physical comedy moments the play requires. The aim is to have a staggered run of the first half by Friday! EEEKKK!

Last Sunday I did also manage to squeeze in a short training walk up to Martha's Church, the final resting place of the actress Yvonne Arnaud...

There is such glorious views from up here. Probably to steepest bit of walking I've done so far too. 

Thankfully the Percy Arms in Chilworth was there to revive spirits.

Just a short blog today as I need to go and finish sorting out the programme!

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