|The Cast having a breather|
The period from the first Preview through to press night of any show is always fraught with activity and is an extremely valuable period in a shows life. Last Saturday, with the tech and dress rehearsals out of the way, the first batch of audience members arrived for preview number one and us actors waiting to hear how they would respond. It went well but when we arrived at 10am the next day Dominic had a list of things he wished to cut, change and tighten up based on that previous evening’s performance. It is often the case after four weeks of rehearsing the same jokes, tricks and moments over and over again that you can become a bit immune to the punch lines or the weight of certain moments. So, having a four hundred strong fresh eyed audience view it in its entirety can allow everyone involved to see the show afresh and, for a director, can be very telling.
A famous theatre director was once asked about the key to directing. His reply was simple: “Kill your darlings!” He was referring to the little gems found in rehearsal, or written into the script which may seem either hilarious, beautiful or a moment of genius, but in terms of telling the actual story that moment simply gets in the way. When this is the case, no matter how genius said moment appears to be, get rid of it and get on with the story! Such a moment of darling killing example was part of Dominic’s list of cuts and things to tighten up before the Monday evening Preview. If you view the production photo’s on flickr you’ll notice the following picture:
|Photo by Keith Pattison|
However, if you come and see the show tonight you’ll notice this moment in the play is nowhere to be seen. That’s because it has been cut. Essentially, Colin Teevan had written a montage in the second half of the show showing Faustus falling from celebrity and it was written that we would hear over the tannoy a new star on the rise who had made the same deal Faustus did: Colin wrote that this new celebrity would be Derren Brown. And he said yes! He recorded lines for the show! We had a Derren Brown cameo in a show about magic! THE Derren Brown! The guy who can do this: . But, alas, after preview one Dominic decided that that montage was muddy storytelling and, in actuality, we just needed to get on with Faustus’ story. So we murdered our darling, but rightly so! If it doesn’t serve the story there’s no point. It is one of many deleted scenes that you’ll find in the script but not on the stage.
Although this week has been extremely busy on stage, back stage is a different story altogether. As the show gets into full swing our dressing rooms have become our new home. The walls are covered with cards and well wishes from press night; the girls’ dressing room has so many bouquets of flowers it could be mistaken for a florists and Ollie, Chris and I have decided to fill our free time with a wee tournament of Cards (above) which has become very serious indeed! It has a rude name so I shall not utter it here.
The week ended with two very well deserved days off. Sunday had a very clear remit: sleep and box sets, but on Monday I decided to be the audience for a change and watch someone else do all the work while at Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby. A lovely show in a stunning theatre with some incredible dancers, however, for a story that, in its own way, also deals with a type of damnation I would have liked it a great deal more if it just had a bit more of a punch to it. But then again everyone’s a critic!