And that’s it! Our four week rehearsal process in Brixton has come to an end. It’s gone so quickly and looking back we’ve packed so much into it. From beating the lambeg drum, to doing our first runs and playing lots of volleyball! Before rehearsals start, you always worry if there’s enough time to get everything done. This includes the all-important task of creating a solid, healthy company that will tour together for six months without killing each other! It really has been a lovely process. Everyone is absolutely on the same page, driving for the show to be the best it can be. And it really does feel like we’re a company now.
The first part of the week was spent tidying up moments and placing a microscope on the piece to make sure we’re telling the story clearly. Wednesday saw us do our first ever run through, with a small audience of creatives and Headlong staff. It was great to see, and experience the arc more clearly than ever, and it was in great shape for a first go. We then picked the brains of the audience as after four weeks of intensive work we’re sometimes a bit too close to the work to be able to track the clarity. This was incredibly valuable, as we could then identify bits we needed to give some attention to, and other moments we were worried about turned out to be absolutely fine.
The rest of the week was then gearing up to our second run through, ominously on Friday 13th, which was watched by the entire creative team, writer Frank McGuinness and lots of lovely folk from the Abbey Theatre and Liverpool Playhouse. It feels like a big moment when you open up the room, and share the work. There’s always a nervousness and anticipation to see how people will respond. Luckily, it wasn’t so unlucky a day, and again, it really moved us forward. It was great for the guys to have a new audience, and to start to get a sense of the reactions.
We used a bit of time on Saturday to make little tweaks that had become apparent during the run through. Jeremy made a great tennis analogy, stating that we had a really solid game going, but now it was about making sure there aren’t just shots from the line but we’re getting up to the net, and making surprising choices and turns throughout. I enjoyed this very much! And it’s also absolutely spot on as we want to take the audience on a journey that is vivid and alive. By finding variety and nuance within the playing we will take it to the next level.
We’re all making our various ways up to Glasgow at the moment, and it’s going to be so exciting to see the set at the Citizens plus to see and hear the work from the whole team. Tech time is absolutely crucial, and some of the best work happens here. I’m constantly amazed just how much everything can tighten up and, hopefully fly. We’re also excited to get into the previews which will be the real test of the show, and seeing what a full, new audience makes of it. Again it’s such an important stage being able to respond to the previews and keep working throughout them. To Glasgow!