Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Caretaker - rehearsal diary week 3

I have received the 3rd installment of Hal's (assistant director) rehearsal diary and from the sounds of it, it is all coming together. The set is also up and looks fantastic. I will try and post some photos of that too but anyway I will now hand over to Hal.

Monday 23rd February
I am away from Bolton doing a casting for a children’s play I am working on at the Bristol Old Vic. It is about adventurers, dinosaurs and cave men; a little different from Pinterland!

Tuesday 24th February

Matthew Rixon (Aston) and Paul Webster (Davies). Image: Joel Chester Fildes

I’m back and things are looking promising. A weekend of rest mean there is a new confidence in the room. We go through Matthew’s long speech and it is beautifully delivered. He has a wonderfully sensitive touch. The main worry during this long section is where to place Paul (Davies). We work this out after some experimenting. I spend the rest of the morning with Jeff (Mick) going over his lines in the second half and talking over the difficult final scene. We try out his speech in this scene a couple of different ways. It requires a huge burst of passion, and we try to unlock the true emotion that lies within this rant. Progress.

The final moments of the play are examined throughout the afternoon. There is a plethora of darkness, pathos and desperation in these few minutes. It is important to judge them carefully. I feel there is a significant step forward. We re-position Paul, and Mark makes a few comments. More to discover, but it is certainly going in the right direction.

In the last hour or so we run our second half for the first time. It flows reasonably well – but plenty still to get our teeth into during the coming days.

Wednesday 25th February

Paul Webster (Davies). Image: Joel Chester Fildes

Our first run is the order of the day. In attendance was Andy Smith (Sound) and Brent Lees (Lighting), as well as James, a tutor from Active 8 Youth Group. How was it? Not bad at all. Quite a few notes are given by Mark. He asks for more youthfulness and play from Jeff. Generally the power shifts between the characters are exciting and surprising. There are quite a few moments to examine, and the pace needs a bit of a lick on it. Decisions to make. Still plenty of room for improvement.

During the afternoon we develop Mick’s character. Jeff is now finding a lightness of touch, an arrogance and twinkle in his eye. It is thrilling! He is daring, risking and enjoying himself. Come 5pm it is bag time again. It is frantic and quick. Maybe this will work. Finally we revisit the final scene of the play. Energy in the room is starting to waver, but it has been a long day.

Jeff Hordley (Mick) and Paul Webster (Davies). Image: Joel Chester Fildes

Thursday 26th February
A big breakthrough day. Our run this morning feels a little slow and mechanical. Mark’s big note is to relax our approach to the rhythm of the piece – to place our focus more on the actor’s instincts and being less ridged on the honouring of the pauses and dots. With Pinter’s musical beat in our subconscious maybe it is time to experiment. This unleashes a new overall energy in which the actors feel released.

Paul Webster (Davies). Image: Joel Chester Fildes

Jeff and I spend the afternoon playing with this licence to thrill! It is rip-roaring fun! The time is spent hammering out clarity, and we experiment with intentions. Back in the rehearsal room things are starting to really fly. The electricity is well and truly back!

Friday 27th February
The excellent work of yesterday continues throughout a vibrant morning session. We have a bash at Mick and Davies’ first scene which is turning into huge fun. Andy (sound) records some of the rising footsteps and mumbles from the stairwell. We then plot in the music for the production which Mark and Andy have thoughtfully selected. It adds an extra layer of intensity and a strange sense of beauty. I want to get myself a personal copy! The afternoon run is pleasing enough. Next week is production week, when we hope the production will reach the next level.

Paul Webster (Davies) and Matthew Rixon (Aston). Image: Joel Chester Fildes


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