Ah, the get-in. I have talked about these before. This one was slightly different, in that I didn’t know my lines yet (haha yes I heard that). At least this time I had an excuse. However, by the end of the (very long) day, with the help of Julian, Georgina and Suzie, I was off-book and rearing (sp?) to to go.
The day was all about the lights, the costumes, the props, the instruments, and then Oedipus. We ran it twice, once with a couple of hiccups, then again with a couple fewer hiccups. Gareth has done an incredible job of taking on the lead role with two weeks to go, no matter what he says. He has put some of us to shame.
My costume accentuates my waistline, so thanks for that. I need to fix that soon, when I have more time. Crunches in the morning at least.
So, it was a long hard day, but very productive and friendly, and we all went for a much needed drink at the crap-but-not-as-bad-as-the-‘spoons Prince of Wales afterwards. It was good to get to know the cast – we haven’t had much of a chance over the last fortnight. Something tells me that by May 10 we’ll all know each other pretty well.
Well, the metaphorical curtain goes up next Tuesday, and there’s a lot of work to be done in the meantime. Luckily, I’m only in one half of the show (Oedipus Rex and not Antigone) while everyone else is doubling up across the two halves. So when they were rehearsing Part 2 last night, I was able to creep off to the William Morris House kitchen and do some line runs. I’ve tried this method of learning lines before, and it seems to work. I explained to my co-actor Gareth why I believed municipal formica to be an aid to memory.
The play also makes use of various percussive and ambient sounds and voices, provided by the chorus. It’s a good way of punctuating the scenes, and add atmospheric backing to prophecy and so on. I offered my drum machine for use, but it was rejected.
I’ve been working on the character, based on my predecessor’s suggestions, and those of the director. The resulting creation basically sounds like Mark Heap in The Green Wing. That should get them rolling in the aisles. Oedipus Rex is a comedy, isn’t it?
I went to my first rehearsal for Oedipus Rex yesterday. It was in the familiar William Morris rooms, and the director is well known to me. My friend D is also in the play, and it so happened I’d seen her the night before for a surprise birthday dinner in her honour. I’d got a bit carried away and drunk too much, so I really didn’t want to be up and rehearsing, citing curling into a ball and whimpering as the ideal alternative.
But I trotted along, and I was glad I did. I met the guy that was playing my part before he was promoted to the lead*. He was able to give me his thoughts on the character, which I am going to purloin wholesale, having no time to come up with any original ideas. Obviously the part will be mine (all mine) by the time we go up, but I do need a leg-up.
The rest of the gang seem like a good bunch. Some pro actors, some fresh-faced drama grads. I’m technically pro, having earned a third share of the Â£10 profit that Grey made back in 2002. And I certainly wasn’t fresh-faced yesterday. I fit in nicely.
It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks.
* I don’t know the full story, so don’t expect any goss here.
…oh no wait that was the other one.
So it would appear that I’m in another play, which I didn’t expect. K called me and asked me if I wanted a part in her adaptation of Oedipus Rex because Oedipus had dropped out. It goes up in two weeks time, and with a rejig of the cast, two parts were open: The Messenger, who has a speech but not much; and Creon, Oedipus’ brother-in-law, who has more lines.
In the spirit of helping my friend, I took the part with the most lines, because then she has less to worry about, see?
Just got the script. I need to get moving on this if I’m going to pull it off. Shouldn’t be too bad, as Creon appears twice, has a chat and then naffs off. First rehearsal (for me) tomorrow. Should be interesting to meet the cast, who are basically all ready. I know a couple of them, the rest are pros.
Click here for all posts about this production.
Illuminated Productions presents The Thebans Part 1: Oedipus and Part 2: Antigone, Wimbledon Studio Theatre, Tuesday 29 April – Saturday 10 May 2008
That went very well last night. The last minute tweaks and figuring out where to leave stuff for easy access has seemed to work. If I sort out the Scriptless Wonder game cards on the train on the way home (or on my desk at work) I can be ready to go immediately we get there. No fussing backstage.
Couple of sound cue glitches, couple of tripped-over lines, but in general it was great. Daneeta and PJ were not disappointed (well they didn’t say so) and it was cool to catch up with them and how the film is coming on. Sounds like they might actually be finishing soon.
…and down the rollercoaster!
One show down! Well that wasn’t so bad in the end. I had been really nervous about my lines, but I managed to do pretty well, I thought. I always get nervous about my lines, and you’d think that I would realise that it always goes well in the end. But it goes well in the end because of the panicked extra line-runs and rehearsals that get scheduled.
As for last night, well we had a technical run-through in the afternoon, where it was realised what a cue-heavy piece this is. A sound, light or prop cue every two minutes on average – mostly bunched together. The run-through was patchy, and we ran out of time for a proper dress rehearsal, so the first public performance was the first time we had everything ready – including the lines. But the (very small) audience were very responsive, and did their usual trick of confounding us by not laughing at the bits we thought were giong to be funny, and chuckling in the “wrong” places. I give up trying to second-guess these people, honestly.
I have friends (Daneeta and PJ) coming along tonight, so best be good!
“No turning back now, this is for real…”
The props are boxed and ready. The costumes are laid out. The script is memorised (honest). The tickets are selling. The crew are awaiting instructions. The cast are at work until this afternoon. The theatre is empty (hopefully). The pep-emails are flying. The Facebook is updated. The blog is being updated at this moment. The finer nuances of character are being finalised.
Wish me femur damage!
How To Make Alien Insect Goggles
You will need:
- 2x cheap white plastic tea strainers
- white fabric elastic
- craft knife
- sticky plasters and up-to-date tetanus innoculation
- antibacterial cleaning materials
- metal skewer
- open flame, like a gas hob
- oven glove
- With the craft knife, cut off the parts of the tea strainers that rest on the edge of your teacup. Also cut off the handle. Clean up edges of plastic.
- After removing the blade of the knife from the end of your thumb, suck thumb while swearing muffledly, and pace up and down the kitchen, until bleeding slows to a slow trickle.
- Apply sticking plaster to wound.
- Clean up pools of blood using cleaning materials.
- Holding skewer with oven glove, heat skewer in open flame until hot enough.
- With skewer, melt a hole in the side of one of the tea strainers, as near to the rim as possible. Melt another hole in the opposite side. Repeat with other strainer, reheating skewer as necessary.
- Thread short piece of elastic through a hole in one strainer, and a hole in other strainer. This will be the nose-piece. Tie and trim elastic accordingly with scissors.
- Thread longer piece of elastic through the remaining two holes. This will stretch round the back of the head, like swimming goggles. Tie and trim elastic accordingly with scissors.
- Your alien insect goggles are now complete.
Watch out for more prop-making tips in the coming days. For the finished article, come and see They Came From Woking at the Colour House Theatre. Details below.
Official group website / Facebook event / Map to venue
Gawd help me, here I go again! This time it’s a double bill – They Came From Woking is a new play by my good friend Kristen, about a UFO-obsessed nerd who learns that his planet is being invaded, and in the meantime learns a few things about life as well…
And then it’s a reprise of last years Times-recommended improvisation gameshow – Scriptless Wonder!
Item! There’s only 4 weeks to go, and I’m papping myself! Thanks!
Official group website / Facebook event / Map to venue
Sorry about the delay with this, but here is a video with highlights of Scriptless Wonder.
Take a look! It was shot by a couple of ladies who came along from the UK Theatre Network, and by their own admission it’s pretty poor. But it gives you a good idea of the kind of lunacy that took place during the shows.
I have to say there’s not much of me in it, but I was only the compere after all. You can hear me introducing the illustrious performers, but that’s it. Just a taste.