You can rehearse and rehearse a play but guaranteed the moment you move it in to the venue a million little problems are thrown up from lighting to sight lines, changes to set, all the stuff that is destined to drive me insane.
At the venue during 'Get In' (when you put your set up and sort your lights etc. out) and the dress and tech runs (the chance to run the show with all the tech aspects in place) I become the guy who paces around a lot and gets snappy, and any patience I had seems to fly out the window and I want everything done at super speed (my poor team). If there’s one thing I hate about doing the tech runs it’s doing a point to point, the moment when each sound and light has to be checked individually.... it takes FOREVER.
I have no problem admitting that I am a control freak and a perfectionist, I need every detail to be perfect or it will drive me insane, of course with M we have more challenges than normal. The show has many frantic costume changes, lots of sound and under scoring and multiple lighting changes. On top of that I have to be able to keep looking at the play itself and making sure that every moment works, and with a thriller that has as many twists and turns as M has.... it’s a challenge.
The show is now totally blocked and rehearsed, the changes to the script have stopped meaning it’s now locked (thank God) and the cast are off script and enjoying finding new moments in their performances to play with. Once the scripts are down and the cast are comfortable that’s where the play can really come to life, and it’s exciting to watch the actors taking chances (I am not a fan of playing it safe). The cast have also run the show in full costume now and it and they look fantastic, that itself is like a military operation. The cast have a second show happening and that’s backstage trying to get in and out of costumes at an alarming rate, especially the leads. During a run we realised that poor Richard Allen who play’s Tony has about 15 seconds in blackout to go from completely undressed in one scene to fully clothed and in a whole new scene..... nightmare.
Everyone is working hard but we always have time for laughs, after all working on such a fast paced show the cast need to release. Luckily we have my co writer/co director and company co owner in the cast Adele Stanhope. She is a phenomenal actress who received rave reviews for her performance in this role back in 2009, however the girl cannot pull off a fight scene to save her life and that has been an endless source of amusement for the whole cast.
At a certain point I like to get other industry friends in to view a full run of the show in the rehearsal space so I can get feedback, it’s always good to get an outside eye as you can become too close to the material. We got some writers, directors and actors in to view the piece last week and it was incredibly nerve wracking. Luckily all the comments were very positive and we got some good advice on a few moments that needed looking at, one of the comments were that it was the best show we had done yet.... very nice to hear.
This week myself, Adele and Karl will start putting together props and sets and that usually involves a lot of laughs and loud music blaring, it’s actually a really good bonding moment for the three of us who run the company, we can step away from the script and the actors and just have fun (we do get everything made and built eventually).
So we are almost at the finish line, two weeks away and we open. The show is almost sold out (I think we have about 6 tickets left on Quaytickets), the reviewers are booked in (scary) and I am in a good place. No slacking off yet though as we still have lots to do. And just to make things extra hard we are already at work on the return of Die, Mommie, Die! and starting work on Queer as Fringe 2 and a brand new drama play. I can’t complain though as it truly makes me so happy to be surrounded by creativity, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
Till next time
- Craig Hepworth
PS, I know I promised you an article from one of my actors but he has not finished it yet..... bloody actors :-)
Opening night is looming and we are in good shape I think, we still have lots to do but honestly I think I am at the point now where I just want to get the show in to the venue, that’s where the problems begin.