Justin Avoth as Theseus and Emily Joyce as Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo: Keith Pattison
We’ve arrived in Southampton to begin the long process of adding in all of the technical elements of the show to what we’ve been doing in the rehearsal room. It’s a daunting process, especially for this show as there is so much to bring together. Each lighting cue, sound cue, actor entrance, piece of projection or scenery move has to be precisely plotted before we can run the show.
It’s a funny time as it can often feel like we are taking apart something we’ve spent four weeks in the rehearsal room trying to build. But, after two days of technical rehearsals we are ready for our first audiences.
Over the course of the first few shows we will need to tweak things. Preview periods are really important as we need the reactions of an audience to tell us what works well and what could be improved. Audiences discover new things in any play and their feedback as they watch is especially important when working on a comedy. Tiny things can suddenly seem riotously funny when all the elements are put in front of an audience and the actors need to allow space for these reactions.
Meanwhile all the technical departments are still working exceptionally hard, making and altering props in the morning, re-teching moments in the afternoon and running the shows in the evening. It’s the most intense, exhausting week of the entire process. Once previews are over the company stays in Southampton for another week before heading out on tour.