Another night of rehearsal schedule nightmares. This has definitely been the worst thing so far. We’re now on schedule 4 I think. The original schedule had to change as one of our leads had all her shifts changed at work- that wasn’t too much of a problem and the change in the rehearsal day actually suited some people better.
But then came Easter. Now the problem of having students in your cast is that they all F**k off for Easter despite agreeing to turn up to rehearsals when auditioning! 3 weeks is a ridiculous amount of time to have off for Easter and especially damaging in terms of rehearsal as that’s a potential 6 rehearsals that can’t happen or cover less scenes due to people being missing. And then there’s the problem of having such a talented cast that most of them are in other plays! Myself and my director Ed have been pulling our hair out over this one tonight- sitting with sheets of paper and rotas and schedules going “oh, so and so can do Monday but whatsherface can’t” and so on until our brains are bleeding out of our ears. The result? 2 cancelled rehearsals as hardly anyone could make it! So we’re now on our second version of the ‘final’ schedule and have punished the cast by adding in Saturday rehearsals (serves them right!).
But despite this I have to say that I’m not actually too worried- after just 2 rehearsals we’ve made good progress in blocking scenes even with people missing. It’s already quite encouraging the way it’s going and as soon as people are off script I know it’ll all progress much faster too.
And there’s the huge bonus of loving my cast. I wouldn’t put myself through this stress if I didn’t think the cast I have are worth it- although I have yet to get them all in the same room at the same time! My favourite bit of our rehearsals so far are probably the warm-up games as I’m getting to know my cast members and some of them are wonderfully funny/nerdy/interesting. I really can’t wait for the first time I manage to get them all to the pub after a rehearsal!
And despite my earlier rant I really think, when people turn up to rehearsal, this is going to be a really great show. Which is lucky, seeing as we already have an audience for every night! If we can sell 100 tickets for every performance then that’s almost £3000 we’re raising for Alzheimer’s Research, which sort of makes up for all this stress.
Some of the Discworld main characters by Paul Kidby -
Rincewind - Sam Vimes - Moist Von Lipwig - Granny Weatherwax - Death - Susan Sto Helit - Archchancellor Ridcully - Cohen the Barbarian - Tiffany Aching
So the auditions went really well! We had such fun meeting everyone and it’s great to know we’ve got some lovely people on board.
Everyone was so nervous when they came in, almost everyone forgot their monologues! There really was no need though- as I told them; I direct because I can’t act! I think they’re extremely brave to get up there in front of strangers like that. Luckily the group work part of the audition was more relaxed and we enjoyed trying people in different roles to see what suited them best. Some people were just made for their roles and we didn’t have to consider them as anything else; like our Agnes and our Oats.
The auditions were over 3 days and by the third day we were very worried that we hadn’t seen anyone suitable for the part of Granny Weatherwax, we’d even let the men try for it! This was always my biggest concern, not only because she’s such an iconic character but also because she’s my favourite character. I think I’ve described before how important she is to me and I was worried that I had it so set in my mind how she should be that I’d never find someone to match it. Thankfully we had 2 really good actresses try for it on the final night so we found our Granny and our Magrat!
I think we’re going to have to work on some accents though. We heard some great westcountry accents and what could be the Uberwald accent but I think we need some work on making them consistent- if the count is going to have an accent then surely his whole family will need to have the same one?
I think we’ve overcome the ‘dog’ issue. I wasn’t willing to have someone dressed as a dog on stage so we’re having a proper dog marionette made (sorry if I’ve said that before, I’m losing track of what I’ve blogged about!). I’m quite excited to see how the marionette will look, I want the puppetry to be good enough that it doesn’t undermine the scene, that people just accept it as a dog and, hopefully, are impressed too!
Tickets are already selling, which scares me a bit! Buying tickets in February for a play that is in June seems very far in advance to me! Maybe it’ll be less scary when rehearsals start. I’m hoping to get everyone together for a meet-up first so everyone can get to know each other as not many rehearsals will have everyone together, we’re a very large group!
We could still do with some more crew- we have people on lighting, hair, make-up and marketing at the moment but we need some stage hands and also 2 puppeteers! No experience neccesary just the time to commit to the production and a thirst for fun!
I don’t know why, when we confirmed the booking months ago, it makes me so excited to see this.
Auditions are less than a week away and tickets are on sale. I’m starting to get really excited about EVERYTHING now- we’ve had more than 45 applicants for auditions so far and still more every day which is more than I could have hoped for. It’s great how many people want to get involved because they support the cause too. Or because they love Pratchett! I love having more Pratchett fans around but it also makes me nervous as I feel I owe it to them to make it as good as I can.
I was talking about this with a friend the other day, about how other theatre companies do Pratchett. I’ve seen a few and hated them, they were like pantos. I have my actors play the characters completely straight, the humour is in the situation and the dialogue and it doesn’t need overacting or flamboyant costumes.
I think our style comes across in our posters- which you’ll soon be able to buy.
If you like my Pratchett/theatre blog you may also be interested in my work blog, which is about what it’s like to work as a researcher in mental health.
Our final poster for Carpe Jugulum!