At about 12:30 on Sunday morning (Saturday night?) all the lights were down, props cleared away and costumes in the back of SH’s car on the way back to Bristol. And that was it. The end… well almost. Still one last blog post to do before I hand you over to our Totton Drama festival entries.
What a two weeks it’s been. To be honest with you I should have written this on Sunday after our aftershow party. But I got home and sat with a cup of coffee and that was all I could do.
Technical & Dress rehearsals are hard at the best of times for directors. Because this is the culmination of everyone’s work. Ours didn’t go as smoothly as planned. But after a lot of coffe, lists and plans we were ready for the first night. I opted to stay backstage for the first night. I had made several changes to the backstage plan and it didn’t feel right just to sit out front and let everyone else deal with it. So I put my blacks on and rolled up my sleeves. It seems I’m not very good at letting go.
The first night went well, the audience was a laughy one which was good. I even shed a tear as I watched the bow from the green room. We’d done it. 6 months planning, 4 months of rehearsals and a million cups of coffee and we’d actually done it. We put on a show that the audience enjoyed. Performances the actors should be proud of.
The rest of the run went smoothly – mostly. Thursday night I had to tread the boards. Trust me, I ran through every other option first. The audience were kind to me, the cast even kinder – guiding me around, covering missed lines, you would have thought after 4 months of rehearsals I should know where I’m supposed to stand! Turns out not so much.
Luckily Friday I was off the stage, backstage had proved they didn’t need me so I went out and watched. Saturday night too! It’s a feeling I cannot really describe watching your cast on stage, specially one like the Nuffield. You’ve spent months watching them building their characters, coming to understand and portray and then there they are doing it right in front of you.
During the aftershow they asked me to say a few words, weirdly my legs started shaking, everything I planned to say ran out of my head and a garbled some rubbish. What I wanted to say was this:
Monstrous isn’t often done, before this I thought it was because it wasn’t a mainstream Pratchett which would work to our advantage as Fans will travel. Actually I think it’s because it’s one of the hardest to stage. 24 scenes 22+ characters, impressive costumes are just a start. It’s not just a director you need for this production. You need a community. And everyone else rose to the challenge with me. I am so proud of everyone involved. You were amazing. As a company we have proved we can handle impressive sets (Absurd person singular), make Shakespeare understandable and fun (a Midsummer nights dream) take on new venues (Bouncers & Shakers), impress at festivals (numerous!) and now we can say we took on The Regiment and won.
So this is my last ramble, thanks for reading for the past few months.
Over and out (for now)