Directors Blog: A Monstrous Production

Hey Folks!

Another week has gone by and here I am again. This week I learnt I can write my blog on my phone! It’s probably going to take me twice as long as usual but since I’ve learnt this information I’m going to use it. Who knows, I might need to feed the cat or join in a one handed Mexican wave while I write and now I can. 

What’s happened this week…

The Carborundum Conundrum 

So when you’re putting on a Pratchett, unless you’re doing one about the Witches you’re probably going to need a troll (or a Golem which raises similar costume issues). And it’s not one of these “under the bridge – all we need is a  large hairy cast member in a loincloth and a club” type trolls. This is a Pratchett troll. Metamophical Rock. Sentient beings made out of rock. Huge silicone based life forms! Although right now I cannot find any concrete links to tell you how huge a troll is meant to, be discussion in rehearsals suggest they are meant to be between 8-10ft tall (Detritus from the books uses a old seige engine as a cross bow).

I stole the below picture from the Discworld wiki pages which gives you an idea of what we’re trying to achieve.

Now… that poses some issues for costuming. We contacted a local university that offers to help with these kinds of things as real life projects for students which help with employability, working with clients that sort of thing. Alas, none of the students wanted to make an 8ft troll costume. Lucky for us, our very own Carborundum was very interested in making his own. When we’re a little further down the road I’m going to badger Adam to write a blog post about how he’s gone about making it, because I think that would be interesting – I’d like to know! There is a reason for this long babble about trolls, ok so, Adam is very tall, I mean he’s not 8ft tall but he’s still tall. And he came into rehearsals this week with these…

They are a prototype, but amazing!

It means that our Carborundum really does tower over the cast, just to give you an idea… 

Impressive huh? 

I’m not going to show you the whole costume when it’s made – If you really want to see it you’re going to have to come and see the show! But it’s going to be so cool. I am very exited about it! These feet also bring in risk assessments – yes I know, it’s not the most exciting of subjects. But they’re important. But I breathed a sigh of relief that I blocked Carborumdum coming on last all the time. But also I need to remind the Regiment when these are worn in rehearsals and during the run not to start retreating backwards off stage if they make a mistake! I don’t want any toes going under the troll feet. 

On My Oath I Am Not A Violent Man…

This is a play about war – someone is going to get hurt. On a quick mental count there are at least six points where people get punched/hit – this isn’t including Blouse’s self inflicted wound. I do not actually want anyone to get hurt. When our local Amdram Network offered us a free unarmed stage combat class from Dan Hill at The Point in Eastleigh we signed up as many cast members as we could and on a dark rainy Friday evening we learnt how to punch each other without actually punching each other. Turns out hitting people on stage is really fun but all about what the audience can see and the “knap” which is the sound you hear. It was an invaluable session, it left me wondering how I can include hair pulling, strangling and a knee to the face… I’m not by the way, I have a penchant for dark plays but I think making Monstrous overly violent for no reason might ruin it somewhat. But I’m very excited about re-choreographing the fight scenes when we go back next week! 

Shaking Off The Day

I start each rehearsal with a warm up – in discussion with other directors they have suggested that it is the actors responsibility to warm up themselves before rehearsals, as the director has to prep, so they don’t do a group warm up. Having been an actor myself and knowing how incredibly hard it is for anyone who is theatrical to get anywhere on time (me included) if I’ve run the warm up I know it’s been done. Now, my warm ups have two purposes. The first is the vocal and breathing exercises, these are to work on diction and projection. The Nuffield is a fantastic space, it is not the most helpful when it comes to acoustics so it’s important that we work on this now as it takes time to build up lung capacity etc. The second is the title of this rambling. We’re not professionals, we fit rehearsals around life, work, families, chores and other hobbies. We get together for a few hours twice a week and we need to make those hours as productive as possible. And trust me. If you’ve had a really bad or stressful day you’re going to take that into the rehearsal room with you. So, 5-10 minutes of warm up just refocuses the mind and brings people’s attention to what they’re doing right now, not the problem that came in 5 minutes before leaving work that made you 15 minutes late to rehearsal. 

In Other News (sorry, I ran out of fun subheadings)

The script for the trailer is written! We’re aiming to film on the third of December. I’m going to let you lot see it first when it’s finished.

We went to the printers this week, I’m picking up all the flyers and posters on Tuesday from the lovely guys at Cubic Digital in Southampton. Who are now my printers of choice after another lot let us down and they did a print job in less than 24 hours for a previous production. Also, they always do a great job.

Almost finally, if you’ve enjoyed the blog, please share on social media and spread the word about the production. Don’t forget to buy a ticket – it’s going to be a great show, tickets are already selling fast and you’ll kick yourself if you’ve read my ramblings for three months and then don’t get a chance to see it! 

Finally, a shout out to our readers on Leicester this week! 

Have a great week! And remember “When in doubt, kick ’em in the nadgers and scarper.”