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Expect to run.

James Camp (Herbert) tells us about....

The dreaded first rehearsal room run…

The final week of rehearsals are upon us and this morning (Wednesday) we did our first full run of the play. This is always a slightly daunting part of any rehearsal process, not least because we have an audience made up of the producers, the writer, the set and costume designer, the lighting designer and the sound designer as well as, of course, our director and stage management team who have been with us throughout. But our fears were unfounded as all of them were, of course, very supportive from the beginning.

There have been many ingredients to our four weeks of rehearsals. We have spent time interrogating the story and the characters’ journeys within it and have explored how these are communicated through the performances. We have learnt songs and other pieces of music and have experimented how to integrate these in to the storytelling. There have been choreography and movement sessions, a challenging stage fighting rehearsal to ensure the moments of combat on stage are executed safely and sessions to set the blocking and the movement of props around the space.

The challenge of the first run through is to bring all of these ingredients together. Or at least try! (Most of us were never very far away from our script to nudge us about our next entrance, line of narration or prop to move.) It wasn’t perfect of course - it wasn’t meant to be! We would have been very surprised - even slightly unnerved - if our first attempt at glueing the show together went off without a hitch! But any minor disappointment at mistakes in the blocking, the odd forgotten line or fluffed cue was more than outweighed by how encouraging it was to experience the show in full for the first time. Not only was it a useful exercise to get a feel for the rhythm of the show and our own physical track through it but also to get a flow of the story; scenes that had only been rehearsed in isolation were now following on from something else which helped to shape and inform them.

The run also enabled us to identify which moments need more work and attention before we make our way to Malvern next week and start our tech rehearsals. Oh and er, speaking of which I better try and consolidate my lines in my final scene before I turn in!…

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