There are a lot of tired limbs at Wolf Central. Yesterday our magnificent team lugged the not insubstantial setup three flights of stairs at 8.30 in the morning to the REP rehearsal room which has become our home for the next 4 days. This was at the end of an intensive week of rehearsals which had ended with a few of us supporting local theatre company Friction Theatre’s production of Mother Courage at the Old Rep.
The show was very good although there was a moment in the middle which we might have confused both the audience and the actors who were speaking directly to us at the time where we all sat bolt upright and looked at each other and laughed. The line? “By Hook or by Crook” ! (I didn’t realise I had been quoting Brecht, when I named the show).
Our first week worked very well as a rehearsal model. We would like to take the accolade of being extremely canny, but it was circumstance (and the lack of a room where we could play our instruments for 2 days that propelled us into this way of working. We spent the first day mostly working on the songs and musical arrangements (together with filming sections see earlier post). this was followed by a longer day (10 – 7) where we pulled the script apart and did detailed work on each section up to scene 8. Day 3 we continued with script work and consolidated our knowledge. This included a run in the afternoon to Sharon our Project Manager. Then on day 4 Gerard worked all morning on the script (whilst I visited our set making team in Wednesbury) and I worked in the afternoon with the cast, on specific sections of text which needed more development. On Friday we brought the music and script elements together and found that we had come on by leaps and bounds and were able to look at technicalities of how we could get a particular performer to their instrument to play at a particular time etc. At the end of the week we were all very happy where we were and to quote on of the actor ” It’s all going so well and I feel on top of it. Its never usually like this, I am a bit worried that i am not stressed yet”.
This is something that Gerard and I echoed at the end of yesterday; we expected for there to be stressful times and there really haven’t been. Yes we have all worked extremely hard and we have had obstacles to overcome but the ethos and commitment of everyone involved has been unparalled. Everyone is giving of their best and putting in more than expected of them to make this a success. Gerard and I don’t take this lightly; no one is getting paid very much but everyone is completely professional, supportive and dedicated. Andy the set designer cycled in on his Saturday morning to help Liam construct the set; all the actors have gone home at the end of a long intensive day and worked some more so that they can take it further the next day; they also stayed behind at the end of a very long day yesterday and composed a new Pirate song fr Abi and LJ. Liam who only needed to come in this week has given hours and hours of his time over the past few weeks to ensure that the technical side of the production (which is by no means small) is working as well as it can be. Stuart (the film maker) was up until gone midnight on Friday night finalising a disc so that we could work with it yesterday. Both of our Interns Jodie and Alison have put in hours of work for no payment and have become very much a part of the creative team. This coming week as we add in the movable set, costumes, masks and props will be full on and I am sure will have the odd hiccup but the positivity emanating from every corner of the room will help us through.
On another note, I must just mention the support of the theatre and civic community both large and small in Birmingham, who have been extremely generous with both their time and space; making life easy for us and allowing us a huge amount of support in kind: Birmingham Rep, The Wine Republic, Birmingham Hippodrome and Dance Exchange, Birmingham Library Theatre, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Box Office, West Midlands Police to name a few. Birmingham Equity and Midpoint have publicised the show by email as well and there are individuals within Education who have also had belief in us and promoted the show too (which has resulted in a current schools audience of 60 for the dress and 104 for the premiere on Friday Afternoon. Tickets are still available to please book, it would be great to have a full house).
Today is a day of well earned rest for the team. We have a few things to do (programme details and a final script) but we are all conserving our energies for production week. None of us are running the half marathon which is happening in Brum today – but to Debs, Juliet, Rob, Sarah and all those who are ….. we are with you in spirit!