Saturday, June 11, 2016
GEIST wk 1 Rehearsals
Well now lover, as you it's something of a signature of my practice to blog the rehearsal process, so here we are beginning a whole new journey together.
Monday was the first time the cast came together, always a nerve wracking moment. Onboard are Fran Lima, playing Kate Peters, Helen Sheals as Imogen Hampstead, and Alex Theo as Nick Cumin, all of whom are all 'round good eggs and 100% fair-trade. We had the mixed-blessing of reading the show through a couple of times to get a feel for how it sounds when read aloud. This is the true test of a script, if it can leap from the page to the stage. With a few minor adjustments this one seems to have that ability. True Jedi that I am, I slugged through a light sabre full of green tea during the proceedings. You've gotta get those anti-oxidants lover, if you're going to slay the dark side (i.e. rehearsal fatigue).
Tuesday was the day we realized that Agatha Christie was too much of an influence on the script, quite how she crowbarred her way in there idk, since I was aiming for Raymond Chandler really, but such is life. In order to ramp up the unhinged sex appeal of it all (and give the whodunnit angle a rest) we tried to channel Sharon Stone, the patron saint of stone cold foxes. We set fire to a Chanel 2.55 and in the smoke saw the face of Sharon, who revealed all her secrets to us. What did she whisper? Well, you'll have to come and see the show won't you?
Wednesday was a game of two halves. Firstly we recorded the lovely Helen Sheal's lines, during which she revealed several explosive secrets about her time as Mrs Wigan on Downton Abbey. Faves included the one about a certain unnameable lead actor who CLAIMS to be vegan, but insists on eating cartons and cartons of Dairylea Dunkers in between takes! (This is a lie).
Thursday was sponsored by Nairn's gluten free oatcakes, in co-operation with Garfield the cat. Our director Robert Chevara and I ran through the blocking of the first few acts. For the first time, in the process, I got that wonderful feeling that this show was actually possible.
Friday, that meanest of all beasts, roared as she rose, but she was no match for we fair maidens of the footlights. We spent the whole day filming Alex as Nick, no short order, as the script comprises 36 pages of fragmented single take speeches. Head chucklemeister and set-designer David Curtis-Ring was on hand to dress the stage, and make sure everything looked suitably cinematic. He even brought along a special tea that only successful people are allowed to drink, and gave us all a sip to help us on our way. What a gent! Happy to say we made a severe dent in the pages to be filmed, and after a minor slippage with the vol-au-vents set up a very productive rhythm which will carry us over into next week's adventure.
Who knows what awaits us? More migraines and oatcakes I expect, but really, at this stage it's anyone's game. And if you fancy buying tkts, you can do so here: http://www.arcolatheatre.com/event/geist/2016-07-02/