Director’s blog: A Monstrous Production

So, this is my first blog post about our January Production – Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (here on known as Monstrous – because that’s a lot to type every time).

Directing plays is a funny thing for me, I have to love a play to be able to direct it. Someone once told me that you can direct a play by finding just one thing about it you love. Not for me. I have to love the whole thing. Which is why Monstrous was an easy pitch for me to make to SUP. Pratchett wrote the books of my teenage years, every Discworld book got read and re-read. I could easily go through 7 or 8 on a two week holiday. We all knew he was ill but when he died last year it was a complete shock – I went back to the books, re-reading some of them for the 3rd or 4th time. I have a couple of his scripts, all adapted by Stephen Briggs, which I re-read as well. I’m not going to lie. I took it surprisingly hard. So I just immersed myself in the Discworld for a few months. That’s when I realised that Monstrous Regiment was the play I could direct. I love the characters, love the plot, love the meaning behind the play.

So – pitched it to our committee (I’m the Chair of the Society by the way – and I will confirm now, besides putting my pitch forward I had no say in what happened next!). Having been told they had put their trust in me to put this HUGE play on it was time to start planning.

Being a Discworld fan myself, I know how people are about the details… Details are not always my strong point. So, I had to put together a strong backstage team to help me pull this off. So, I have my PM (Production Manager) and my SH (Silent Helper who is my props, special effects and planning guru – I am in awe of how organised this man is!), along with a plethora of other Production Helpers. Planning set in motion…

Posters 

What you need to do with posters, is create something truly awful, or unintentionally offensive and then show someone who knows what they’re doing. I’m not going to tell or show you what my first poster looked like, but it certainly ticked both of those two boxes. The wonderful Ben Grace came to my rescue (I also made him peanut butter fudge – fudge will make people help you too…) He made me some amazing images to use for marketing. But he’s also a film maker and you can check out his stuff here.

Auditions & Casting

Ok, so, I know that everyone hates these. I don’t like being on either side of the table. It is of course a necessary evil. Without auditions you have no cast. There’s the “Party Worry” – what if nobody comes and I’m the kid who held the party nobody came to? I was so lucky, from my auditions, I had 21 wonderful members of cast. 21?!? I know, it’s huge. How do you coordinate 21 people?!? Emails, lots of emails, and spread sheets, and dropbox. It doesn’t end! We had the read through last week, and I was so happy with everyone. I haven’t directed for a little while, and I walked away from the read through with a little kick in my step – still got it.

So, my rehearsal schedule has gone out, and we’re about to start the blocking process. I’ll check back in with you soon with an update – we’ve got trailers to make, photos to take, costumes to organise. It’s going to be a Monstrous production, which is lucky, because #wearemonstrous

In the mean time – if you want to get in early – tickets are already available.

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