Thursday, 30 August 2007

Barrie Rutter's Rehearsal Diary - part 1

Barrie Rutter is the Founder and Artistic Director of Northern Broadsides the multi-award wining touring company based in the historic Dean Clough Mill in Halifax. He is also playing the part of Old Man Mars in Lisa's Sex Strike . This is his diary......

Day 1
I love first days – new words, new folk, new tour, new mates – made all the sweeter by the Octagon’s famed tremendous audience response, good at any time but greater still as we are the first play in the 40th year celebrations.

We were last here in 2001 with Oedipus and Cracked Pot, both by Blake Morrison as is Lisa’s Sex Strike out of Lysistrata by Aristophanes but not since more's the pity. But we're glad to be back. Rehearsals have started, tickets are selling well so you might want to buy yours now, just so you don't miss us!

So the pleasure is all ours to be invited to kick off this years’ terrific programme.
Rehearsal photography: Nobby Clark
Day 2
Blake Morrison and Conrad Nelson, the Director, have served up a text which is light years away from the severe, faithful narrative that I read four months ago – a mouth-watering feast of verbal dexterity and invention, with more changes to come as Blake hears actor’s voices for the first time, delighting in the creative juices released with utterances. Many songs have appeared, more yet may. It’s wonderful to have a poet in rehearsal – two, in fact, as Con’s a poet of music, recent Tempest as evidence.

Overnight edits and new lines allow Blake to catch the 2 o’clock back to his family in Greenwich – there’s plenty to work on ‘til he arrives back next week with more. More – give us more: how exciting!

Rehearsal photography: Nobby Clark

Day 4
Suddenly the building’s louder, fuller – staff and production crew back from holiday; Youth Theatre running to and from the BNT; the Spotlight CafĂ© open to the public and most of our 14 actors in every day – singing, dancing, learning going on around every corner. It’s buzzing.

Day 5
A day off for me. The first time ever in the history of Northern Broadsides.

Day 6
Return to find a chorus of whistling appendages (!) – you’ll just have to see the show, I am not giving anything else away – and a tumbling, trotting, truncheon-toting troupe of silly police of course!

Ambling around the Precinct and popping in to place a bet do I detect a less than favourable atmosphere towards the chap known as ‘Little Sam’? Hmmm. If I do it fits in with mine, being a supporter of the Tigers of Hull City, similarly throwing away home advantage on the first day of the new season. Good job the horse wins, and I whistle away with £30.

Day 7
I’m a God! Many have suspected this for some time I know but the vagaries of Aries, God of War (Mars to the Romans) are now realised in a half-deaf, half- blind, hip replacement needing old geezer from Hull – that’s me!

Another Day.....

A frightening day, a nervous day, a ‘will-I-get-found-out’ day – choreographers in!

The girls love it of course. The lads love watching the girls of course!! It’s always delightful to see the grace that women’s bodies seem to naturally possess. And as always, the movement queen herself is just sensuality on legs….

A serious discussion ensues on how men walk when armed with a certain theatrically enhanced, mechanical strap-on, battery operated 'prop'. Intrigued? You might just have to come and see the show! Oh girls, what you don’t know or haven’t observed – we waddle. Relaxed sauntering is not possible. So it’s legs slightly apart too when stood at attention.

It’s gratifying to know that a certain mechanical prop rescues the possessor from intricate dancing steps. So, being condemned for having two left feet is put off for another day. What’s more the girls will be in various Ann Summers garbs at this stage in the show and so will carry the ‘dance’. For this relief much thanks. “Relief”? Oh stop it Rutter….


Post a Comment