Typically, we spend four weeks rehearsing a new play before we take the work from the rehearsal room in to the theatre to begin technical rehearsals. Party because of the Christmas break, and partly because we’re performing SIXTY FIVE MILES in repertory with Hull Truck Theatre’s production of ONCE UPON A TIME IN WIGAN, we have rehearsed Matt’s play for three weeks – albeit three incredibly focussed and productive weeks.
As previously reported on this blog, we spent week one of rehearsals discovering the world, themes time-period and backstory of the play and week two working out what actually happens over the course of the action of the play. Week three has been about practicing capturing all of this information in the performing of the play so that it’s all made clear and believable to the audience. This is no mean feat given how much detailed psychological and emotional information needs accurately communicating in order for the performance to form a believable whole, and for the full weight and significance of Matt’s beautiful play to properly land with an audience.
Thankfully, I’m blessed with five incredibly intuitive, insightful and unrelentingly hard-working actors who have made the process one of constant discovery and continual improvement. We were joined mid-way through the third week by Matt himself, who has provided a well-timed confidence-boost and invaluable outside eye. Also joining us at the end of last week were the brilliant creative team of Amy Cook (Designer), Tim Deiling (Lighting Designer) and Ed Lewis (Sound Designer/Composer), as well as CEO of Hull Truck Andrew Smaje and the Production Management team of Fran Maskell and our very own Bernd Fauler. With everyone assembled on Saturday afternoon, we ran our rehearsed versions of all 9 of the play’s scenes in the correct order for the first time.
After one more day in the rehearsal room yesterday, we moved in to the theatre this morning to begin technical rehearsals, whereby we practice our rehearsal-room work on stage, on the set, under lights and with sound. This piecing together of the various production elements will take us all of this week as we learn exactly how the production functions in front of an audience for the first time on Wednesday evening. There will be changes, mistakes, excitement and a whole lot of waiting around – but that’s tech week for you. All will be reported later this week once we’ve opened the show.
You can read more about the play in this interview with Matt.
And here is a slightly inarticulate interview I did about the process of rehearsing two plays simultaneously.
Whilst we hope to have the chance to take the production on tour at a later date, SIXTY FIVE MILES is currently scheduled for a limited run in Hull only. You can book tickets here.