Director Robert Icke speaks to the company. Photo: Tristram Kenton
Due to the length of the rehearsal period and the tight schedule, the company have been rehearsing six days a week but although the beginning of the third week was greeted with rain clouds and tube delays everyone still arrived eager to get stuck in. We continued to work through the play, readdressing certain bits and adding to and refining earlier versions of the scenes. By Wednesday afternoon we were ready to run sections of the play, allowing everyone to get a feel for the flow of the production, and an idea of how the story progresses from each scene to the next. There was a real sense of excitement within the company as it all started to fall into place. It was also the first time most people had seen parts of the production they did not appear in, giving them an opportunity to understand Romeo & Juliet in its entirety and admire the work of fellow cast members.
The most exciting visitor of the week was fight director Kevin McCurdy, who came in on Tuesday to choreograph all the ‘action’ sequences. With Kevin in charge everyone got a chance to flex their muscles and throw themselves - and each other - about a bit. Safety is paramount in any show with weapons, fights and falls; particularly as the actors have to repeat these risky sequences night after night. It is important for the welfare of both the actors, and the audience that they feel comfortable with each other and controlled on stage. Kevin would occasionally drop in terrifying facts or statistics to keep everyone on their toes and grounded in reality.
Once again, there was a steady flow of props and costume into the rehearsal room, with the cast enjoying all the shiny new toys to play with and clothes to dress up in. What were mere ideas and possibilities in earlier rehearsals became reality and were played out, removed from or cemented into scenes. Stage management had their hands full, splitting their time between making props, or dashing about all over the place to source them. The production meeting on Thursday was another opportunity for the whole Romeo & Juliet team to gather and discuss progress, as well as apportion time and resources to anything still needing attention.
Towards the end of the week, Tom (Sound Designer) returned with a few roughly edited tracks to practice some of the sections set to music - allowing the actors to place their scenes in time with the songs. As the blocking for these sections is so tight it is important the cast commit it to memory and feel confident in the choreography. We also had a visit from Dylan to film the trailer - forcing Daniel (Romeo) and Catrin (Juliet) to try out their screen acting for a day. Meanwhile, Robert took some time with individual actors to check their progress and address any concerns they had. With so many comings and goings, the rehearsal room was a hive of activity and, with excitement mounting amongst the company going into the final week, everyone left for the weekend with a head full of notes and a real spring in their step.