Check out Johan Persson's production photographs for This House at Chichester Festival Theatre.
During our last week in Chichester the Members Chorus regathered to begin the process of our journey to the Garrick in the West End.
One of my favourite parts of the rehearsal process is the technical rehearsal. This is where the company leaves the safety of the rehearsal room and moves into the theatre. We start at the top of the show and work slowly through to incorporate all the various technical elements (Lights, sound, costume, wigs etc) into the show. This process takes around three days.
Our final week of rehearsal has arrived. Where has the time gone! It's been fantastic seeing this great play take shape over the past few weeks.
The clock in the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament is one of the most recognizable of London’s landmarks. The clock and the clock tower are commonly and inaccurately referred to as Big Ben. Big Ben is actually just the name of the clock’s largest bell and not the clock itself nor the tower.
During our final week in London we began to run sections of the show. We spilt the play into thirds and slowly pieced it back together. When the show is running, sections of the play can creep up on you quite quickly, so it's great for the actors to begin to see the whole journey of the play from start to finish. I'm happy to report it's coming to together brilliantly!
We're halfway through rehearsals and things are beginning to take shape. This week we started back at the top of the play and revisited the work from weeks one and two - only this time we delved deeper and investigated the scenes with more scrutiny. We spoke in depth about various relationships between characters and the narrative of the story. We want to make absolutely sure the plot is clear for the audience. We've also laughed a lot!
On our feet!
Week two has been a cracking week.
There are well over 100 scenes in the play, many being short and sharp – almost filmic. Some scenes are less than a quarter of a page long. Scenes cut rapidly from one location to the next - either from the Government Whips' office to the House of Commons chamber or from the Tea Room to the Westminster archives.
Research, research, research! We've covered so much ground during the first week of This House rehearsals. As you might expect with a play so steeped in the history of British politics, our first week has been predominantly focused on finding out what the hell was going on between 1974 and 1979 in UK politics. James Graham's brilliant play focuses on the turbulent Labour governments of, firstly the hung parliament of February 1974 and then the slim majority held by Harold Wilson in October 1974, followed by James Callaghan in 1976 and ending with Margaret Thatcher sweeping to power in the now infamous general election 1979.