Moving into uncharted waters: the claustrophobia of Soldier Island
Director Paul Green is happy to report that the fear, suspicion and paranoia are coming along very nicely indeed
We are now well into rehearsals proper: time flies when you’re bumping people off, twice a week, and things are moving ahead at a cracking pace. A combination of good preparation and cast commitment meant we’d run through the play, in its entirety, in only the first three rehearsals.
I’ve had the actors physically exploring the acting space, and pinpointing those moments of high tension.
I’ve deliberately designed a minimal set to accommodate 10 adults moving around it at the same time, at different speeds and in different ways. It’s like an elegant and sometimes disturbing dance. The cast (or rather, their characters) are coming to grips with who they should be close to, who they suspect and – crucially – how they move through the space.
It’s fascinating to watch.
This approach has already led to “bursts” of simultaneous movement that create some extremely engaging stage pictures.
There are also moments of (relative) calm and stillness, which seek to highlight those times of more frenetic action, and ratchet up the tension.
We want to stay one step ahead of our audiences, wrong-footing them, and serving up the unexpected, even when they think they know the material.
There will be a free-flowing feel to our version as opposed to the formulaic and very static “sitting down” murder mystery style common in other productions. Despite the large stage space that we’ll have at NST Campus, we want our audiences to be sucked into the story and to really share the claustrophobia of these dark characters who are trapped on Soldier Island…
So, even if you do know the story well, our promise is to show you AND THEN THERE WERE NONE like you’ve never seen it before: as Christie intended it, all those years ago. And you did know there are two alternate endings for the play, didn’t you?
Closely linked to the movements, and particularly who each victim/suspect gravitates towards, the characters are all developing extremely well. It’s especially interesting to see the moments when different pairings come together and split apart as the action moves on.
Importantly, the actors continue to embrace all the challenges I’m throwing at them, which is great to see, and they seem to be having a blast.
It’s very much “a company” already, and we’re now moving into phase two of rehearsals. The scripts will be put down shortly (although some actors are almost there already) and I can promise lots more surprises, scares, jumps and tense action to come…
Follow our continued progress in future blogs. Please remember to tell your friends, family and colleagues about the show – and book early to get the seats you want
SUP proudly presents Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE at NST Campus theatre from Wed 23-Sat 26 January 2019 – tickets from just £10. Concessions and group bookings available.