Simon Coates as the Friar, Brigid Zengeni as the Nurse and Okezie Morro as Tybalt, in rehearsal. Photo: Tristram Kenton
The hard work of the preceding weeks paid off and they threw themselves into it with an impressive amount of confidence and energy, navigating their way adeptly through the larger and more complex sequences, whilst working to retain the detail of the smaller scenes. As soon as the final line had sounded, and entirely unprompted, the actors fed back to each other about their favourite bits and complimented each other on interesting readings - a palpable sense of excitement growing amongst them. The excitement extended to the creative team - including Joanna Town (Lighting Designer) and Helen Goddard (Designer) - who were also seeing the show for the first time, with the aim of getting to know it inside out ahead of the production week.
This initial run was particularly useful for Robert (Director) to make notes of any areas which needed work, and these were worked through chronologically over the next couple of days. On Wednesday, another run was scheduled and Rupert Goold (Headlong’s Artistic Director) popped in to take a look - casting an objective eye over the production. It is common for the Artistic Director to note the Director, and his notes were extremely useful for prompting the exploration and examination of certain elements of the play. The next couple of days saw the company again working through chronologically, taking Robert’s notes onboard whilst incorporating elements prompted by Rupert’s notes wherever necessary. Although the company were a little weary after almost a month of intensive work, they were alert and energetic, aware that this would be the last chance to tighten up the blocking and detail before heading to Southampton. To keep everyone on their toes, Robert made it clear that the show would never be ‘frozen’ - instead leaving elements to be explored and discovered within the technical rehearsal and encouraging the cast to remain creative and adaptable throughout the tour.
Friday saw the final run-through in front of members of the creative team as well as some of the Headlong team. Only that morning an important scene had been re-written and re-blocked so, although the company were nervous about getting it right in front of the assorted audience, they soon hit their stride. There was a dramatic change from Monday in the confidence and focus of the cast, and a real feeling that the show had outgrown the rehearsal room. After a quick line run, and farewell pizza party on Saturday we were ready to head down to Southampton to begin our week long technical rehearsal on Monday. As the truck was loaded with the set and props, the company chatted excitedly about what lay ahead - the prospect of incorporating the as yet mysterious elements of lighting, projections, set and costume to complete the world of Romeo & Juliet sent many home wishing Monday would come sooner!