Monday, 14 January 2013

The Preview


And suddenly, the big day is here.

Teej comes in first thing in the morning, and by the time she leaves, the dances feel like they're in a good place. By 11am, we're doing  another full run of the show.  Its starting to feel more comfortable and confident...and I'm relieved to find that the daunting costume changes are feeling more and more feasible each time I do them!

At lunchtime, we grab a pasty and go to hook up the trailer to the landrover, ready for our get-out on saturday morning. Having the tour paraphenalia really underlines things...the tour is beginning!

When we get back to theatre, we make the decision to hold back on a second run, and conserve some energy before the night's show. Instead we do some tweaking....particularly those scenes that interact with the film. They have to be very precise, so its worth paying attention to them and getting them as smooth as we can.

Later, Benj and I do a speed line-run whilst walking through our blocking (movements) on set. And before we know it, it's almost 5pm.

Whilst the crew clear the space (moving the tech table to the top of the auditorium and getting things ready for an audience), the actors are starting to feel the nerves! We go down and try and eat some of the Tolmen Centre's top notch dinner, and then try to find a quiet place to slow our minds down, and focus for the show.  Before we know it, we're in our starting positions and hearing the sound of 200 people buzzing into the theatre.

The show flies by without a hitch, and its alot of fun to perform. The Tolmen is a brilliant audience, and a lovely space for sharing a performance. The whole place feels really energised. The feedback afterwards is unbelievably positive, and we're so pleased to have made it through from beginning to end!

Later, we'll sit down together and talk about how to carry on improving the show (which bits need more pace, which bits particularly worked, which bits might need altering) The point of a preview is to test a show, and we're pleased to have had the time to do that, and with such a supportive and constructive audience.

Let the tour begin.


And suddenly, I've fallen behind on this blog! Although, perhaps it is an honest representation of a tech week...when all the focus and energy is on getting the show ready for the first performances, and everything else just has to take a back seat for the time being.

But, in the interests of documenting things properly, heres a catch up blog entry!


We started a full tech run at about 10.30am, and got through it by about 5.00pm (Not bad!) This then gave us a bit of time to reset all the props to their starting positions, run through the choreography, warm up our voices, line-run a few tricksy areas...before doing a dress rehearsal in the evening.

Benj and Nix marking through choreography
The dress rehearsal wasn't as smooth as we'd perhaps have liked- but it was a relief to get a 'performance conditions run' in before allowed us to get a handle on our character journeys again, and identify any weaker areas we might want to go through again before the first performance.

The show ran for much longer than we anticipated...we finished the show at 1 hour 45 minutes! Eek! It is likely to get quicker, and we may look into cutting a few sections.

We have notes up at the house- and its lovely to sit down with the whole team and have a celebratory glass of wine whilst we iron out a few niggles, and clear up some of the interactions. By the time we part company, the mood is optimistic and we're looking forward to the challenge of tomorrow...a sell out preview!

But its a lucky minority who are able to head off to bed...some of the team go back to the theatre to finish up a few last minute jobs here and there. Jon and Jake have some film to sort out (exporting a few altered clips and importing everything into the program we use to run the show), and Sophie to sort out a wig, and to grit the stage so its safe to dance on!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


Its 22.20pm...and we've just restarted our cue-by-cue tech rehearsal. We're about half our way through the script, so there's a fair whack to go.  But despite that, morale is suprisingly high in the late night cube camp!

Its been a difficult day. Technical hitches monopolised things a little...but looks like its sorted now.

 Everything else seems to be ticking along nicely- we had another session with Teej finessing things dance-wise, did many a line run, and the set continues to get better and better each time we come back upstairs to look at it.

We're sitting on the set and looking an impressive number of people on the long tech our stage manager crouching at the front! Lottie is writing up 'the book', which will be used for running the show.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013



Last night finished late- fish and chips in the theatre for most...and Jake worked all night on the editing which is looking brilliant this morning.
And after another day (they seem to be galloping past at an alarming rate!), the set feels like its coming on in leaps and bounds. Its really tying the style of the show together. Can't show an image for fear of spoiler!

There's been some costume fittings...jigsawing (not the rainy day kind)...a birthday cake for one lovely individual...running through most of the scenes...props and singing practice...microphone states designed...and the trial of a very exciting lighting special! See below!

the special (above) ; the clue (below)

Monday, 7 January 2013


And tech week is off with a bang. This week we'll be posting  a running day by day account as we get closer and closer to our first preview performance on friday keep checking back as the week unfolds! 
MONDAY So many exciting developments. Set painting...props editing...line running...a technical upset  hopefully remedied after lots of technical phonecalls to various experts...lights...and the odd bit of acting. And lots of behind the scenes admin getting the shows publicised and making sure everything is in place for the tour starting next month: things like marketing, getting a new wheel on the trailer, and other glamorous tasks like making sure we have contracts in place with our venues! It was an early morning, and its going to be a late night! Theres a very exciting buzz about the whole building, and it feels so great to have all the team under the same roof all at the same time. A really good day.


Freddy Rehearsals 2

Nix Wood- Actor & Creative Producer

A Rehearsal Round Up.

So three weeks have flown by...and they've been busy!

From an acting point of view, me and Benjamin have been working like dervishes to get a lot of new skills under our belts! The days typically start with singing and dance warm ups, before getting stuck into the scenes with Jon the director. We've been busy tapping away whenever we can- along side some full day sessions with our choreographer Teej. She has done some very rigorous work with us teaching us three dances for the show in a very short space of time, so we've been practicing taps as often as we can between scenes...even having meetings absent-mindedly tapping whilst talking!

Wearing our tap shoes in an on-the-hoof meeting at our rehearsal venue, the Tolmen Centre

Out of rehearsals, I've been going a bit Ginger Rogers mad...watching lots of films, reading biographies, and trying to get under her skin a little bit. I feel like I've come quite full circle with it really- because now I've done all that, I'm largely disregarding it and concentrating on telling the story!

Jon has been working by day as a director in rehearsals, and by night has been creating some really beautiful sound design as well as writing 2 brand new songs for the shows. Rehearsals  feel like they're coming together, although once production week starts we have a big job to start incorporating all the technical elements into the show so its all slick and ready for our previews on the 11th and 12th January. Its been great to catch glimpses of our extended cast being projected behind us as we go...the film footage is looking really great. 

Jake (our film maker) has been busy editing in the rehearsal room, as well as running around shooting additional material, and starting to take control of running the show. Design-wise, Sophie our designer spent some time with us before Christmas, together with John C and Charlotte getting everything ready for a last push in the final week. We've had Paul and Rachel around and about doing some preparatory lighting work before tech week kicks in, and Lottie has been sorting equipment and props, as well as running cube HQ for the whole production team, most of whom are travelling from up country and around and about Cornwall so stay in Constantine overnight during the week.

Its been great to have everyone popping in and out, and be based in one place, and we've really dug into the Tolmen over the past three weeks. Its starting to feel like home, and most importantly of all, that we have a really well-knitted team working on the project.

Ticket sales are going well, and its all starting to feel a bit close and exciting! Its going to be a big push for it all to come together, but everyone involved seems really peppered and I'm sure its going to be great. Bring on next week!