Monday, 22 June 2015

Little gems

So our formal rehearsal process for The Boy Preference is now over. It has been fantastic to have the time to properly rehearse key elements of the show - analysing and testing all the decisions we've made and, in a number of cases, making new decisions. The show is different in many respects (and much better) now than the show we put on in Monday. We've found all manner of little gems!

Our new set design from the NT
How is this achieved I hear you cry? How can you change something that has been so firmly set and something that (let's face it) was extremely successful? And why would you want to?

I suppose the 'right' answer is that you always look to play the truth of the situation, so if you change assumptions and decisions made in the construction of your character and plot 'back story', this will inevitably change what appears on stage. We've looked at how we arrived at some of our character decisions and, with the benefit of hindsight and a good deal of thought (given the luxury of time), have changed our minds. And once you change one aspect of a character, then all the other characters reactions to that character change to and you are back into a dynamic and 'edgy' situation which gives the piece its fizz.

We've also gone for even more precision in the chorus work and I think they are much more scary than they were originally. We've done this by taking a step by step (literally) approach to each of their scenes and with input from all of them, it's taken new forms.

As to why we'd want to make these changes - well, it needs to be fresh for the National Theatre and, indeed, for our cast. It cannot simply be repetition, it must be as if we're doing this for the first time. And we have some really fantastic opportunities - on Wednesday we move to a much bigger hall at the High School to run the show. Then we are back to The Maltings, but with a different set configuration, and then to the Dorfman. - so all new experiences which will give the cast some great challenges.

And the final reason as to 'why change?' - it had to! It was directed for a small, intimate space with a tight set and its moving to a much larger auditorium with a high ceiling and all kinds of different aspects. the show had to 'grow' and it has.

Finally, a word about our NT Associate Director, Dan Bird. His input has been immense - without ever treading on my team's toes. He's delivered some very telling messages, all of which have supported our work. His eye for detail has also been invaluable and some of his ideas for new bits of business or staging have been inspired. It's been a privilege to have him with us and I only hope he's enjoyed his time - and that we make him proud next week! I'm sure we will.

(Next week!!!!)