Insights – Wasted, Day 1
No matter how many of them you do – day one of rehearsals always feels like the first day of school. It’s that heady mix of expectation, nerves and a smattering of excitement. Granted, WASTED has been around a few years now and has the boasts and bruises to prove it, but there are some new kids in class a whole new stomping ground to tour.
Yesterday, our office on the Aldwych opened its heavy glass door to the first production of 2013. The endless phone calls, Spotlight print outs and publisher deadlines were all for this. As cast, creatives and Team PP marched up four flights of stairs and filed into the rehearsal room, you could feel the first day buzz.
Slightly later than planned (who’d have thunk it) we kick off around the circle with the usual intros – what’s your name and what’s your role? Cue familiar nods and intrigued glances. There’s little glamour in it – no embossed name badges or extended spiels. Just a group of people in a room trying not to draw too much attention to themselves:
Call to arms done, and we’re off into the first reading. This is a chance for everyone involved in the production to hear Kate’s words being spoken by those who are going to do so for the next couple of months. Although there is no pressure on Bradley, Cary and Lizzy to ‘act’ per se, I cannot imagine it’s particularly relaxing to read in such close quarters to everyone else. Still though, it’s a necessary evil of most first days.
With the readthrough, the whole room is reminded of why we’re here in the first place. And it’s an odd feeling of enjoying what’s there already, whilst thinking ahead to what it will be like when it reaches its potential. An early lunch break is then called (it’s an hour long show after all) for the actors so that the production team can chat.
Being well versed in poetry is one thing, but trying to make sense of every intricacy of technical language is another matter altogether. That’s especially true when your show is as AV heavy as Wasted is set to be. It’s always surprising how late on big decisions can be made in theatre, and today was no exception. There’s support of the road for everyone travelling, but during the meeting, lighting desks and monitors were discussed and debated, only for further research to be done before a decision can be made.
Lunch provides everyone with a chance to run off and do what they should have done earlier, and catch up on mobile silence for the past few hours. Most of the creatives won’t return for the afternoon, so now was also the chance to catch those they needed to, before everyone is in the same room again in a couple of weeks’ time.
The afternoon session is spent with Kate, isolating each scene and going through line-by-line with a fine toothcomb. Punctuation and word choice have to be exact before the final version is emailed to the publishers, so Kate and the company discuss and refine and revise, launchinglong conversations about the world of the play, the specifics of the characters and the intricacies of Kate’ extraordinary rhythm and rhynme.
So that’s the end of day one. Names have faces and the challenge is set. There’s a lot of work to do but it all feels much more vital with rehearsals underway.