Sunday 13th May 2012. 11am. The Jetty. Act One - first five scenes.
The most important thing to me, as a director, was to make sure the first rehearsal was fun, active and gave everyone the sense of the show. I think the video carries that across.
Tuesday 15th May 2012. 7.30pm. The Auditorium. Annas & Caiaphas in Act One.
|Ignore the plastic sheet - it will not hang so...|
|Judas gets his spotlight - just before his end.|
Thursday 17th May 2012. 7.30pm. The Jetty. Jesus in Act One.
|Looks let sinister when they're moving.|
|Just say no to Python|
At various times in the rehearsal I sent away to work on smaller scenes / speeches separately. With 20 to 30 people in the cast there are always moments when people aren't needed, so it's really helpful to get the most out of the time. Today the Angel Gabriel worked with my glamorous assistant on speeches and the Doctors ran a little scene we'd started on Sunday - adding some nice detail, a few little moves.
As a director I do think it's important to try and get people to try things out away from me, to feel free enough to surprise me. I love surprises. I like to see people try out other ideas and at this stage there is nothing to be gained by being precious. Try it out - if I don't like the idea, I can always say after ward. Of course, saying this doesn't mean it always happens, but I do try to be open. By week five I will be mostly focusing on getting it as rehearsed... but that's when we've gone over everything several times and the show will have formed itself into a clear shape.
Oh, and here's the snippets of video from Tuesday and Thursday.
And so, after a week, we have gone over the whole of the first half. Now, baring the odd little look back, we go into the more somber Act Two.
Sunday 20th May 2012. 10am. The Quay. Act One, reprise of opening.
An early morning call to rehearse the back projection and shadow play for the opening of the show - as God delivers his opening oration, his thoughts appear on the curtain. We covered this briefly the previous Sunday, but now was a chance to have a bit of a play. It was a chance to see how effectively we could show Mary become pregnant and give birth as a shadow play, and to see whether Adam and Eve would work as shadow puppets. Unfortunately I hadn't created proper rehearsal puppets for this rehearsal, so we just worked out the basic shape of the scene - fortunately, after the rehearsal I had a brainwave that would have negated the kind of puppet I'd planned anyway.
11.30am. The Jetty. The Crucifixion.
Up till now the rehearsals, and the play, have been fairly light; this rehearsal was for the crucifixion and so was serious. We went through the text carefully, we blocked the scene, we discussed the risk assessment. From the first moment this production came to me I have been wrestling with the pragmatics of this most difficult act - how to raise, safely, a cross, with someone on it. This rehearsal was about the text, primarily, we only talked about how the lifting will go ahead. Next Sunday the cast will work with the cross itself and in the space - but without anyone on it. Only once we know the precise dynamics of raising the object will we move onto the person.
And so ends the first week of rehearsals - I'm off now to break into the second week, with another seven to go before the curtain goes up. I hope you'll stay with us and follow our progress. The next blog will be about the run up to this production and a little background to the plays themselves. Till next time, enjoy the rest of the rehearsal photos below.