Eugene McCoy, Hugh Skinner, Matt Smith and Jonathan Bailey, our yuppie wolf pack, read through a scene while the creative discuss staging. Multitasking is key!
Now we’re really seeing what this American Psycho is made of. For the last few weeks, we have been moving at an incredibly quick pace. We’ve made the most of our time and resources, holding split calls, so that music, dance, and script work can all happen simultaneously. We have sketched out, in broad strokes, nearly every major scene and dance number.
The process of creating a new musical often involves the sketching of various staging ideas to present in front of an audience, rather than hitting on the one ‘right’ version before letting the audience in. When a musical gets into preview period, it’s not unusual to have several drafts to try out. The audience’s response during that time will be integral to the decisions that are made about how to button songs, build numbers, and structure scenes.
Our director, Rupert Goold, has a brilliant eye for staging and he seems totally comfortable with keeping a number of ideas alive at the same time for as long as possible. “So much has to do with finding the right form,” he explained, “because from form comes tone, and from form and tone come characterization and expression.” This may seem counter-intuitive, as it’s usually the opposite in straight drama, especially with revivals. On a new musical, there are so many creatives involved in crafting the form and tone that the director needs to find a way of balancing their needs with the needs of the actors. Again, this is in contrast to straight plays, when the rehearsal room dynamic is often limited to many actors and a single director.
Eugene McCoy, Tom Kay, Ben Aldridge, Holly James and Hugh Skinner in a dance rehearsal. Can you guess where this scene takes place?
As you can imagine, there is a lot of improvising, and we’re demanding a lot of attention and commitment from the actors. They’re going above and beyond the call of duty, amazing us each day with their tireless energy and willingness to explore and play. My favourite part of the rehearsal process so far has been discovering everyone’s secret talent. And trust me, they all have one. Johnny Bailey can do some kind of bizarre handspring, which for some unknown reason has been dubbed ‘The Arab Spring’. Ben Aldridge, preppy boy that he is, can apparently pop and lock like a B-Boy. Lucie Jones can do ‘The Crab’ and Holly James is ridiculously flexible. The list goes on. Our brilliant choreographer, Lynne Page, has delighted the cast by incorporating most of their crazy moves into the choreography. This is one of many examples of real collaboration happening between cast and creative team, all of which make this rehearsal room such a particular joy to be in.