By Emma Louise Bennett
The cast of See How They Run
have set off on their first tour! The show moved into its first theatre two weeks ago and has had its audiences rolling in the aisles! Andrew Miller spent a few days with the show down at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley to give us a sneaky peek behind the scenes of the technical and dress rehearsals.
Andrew's Technical Rehearsal Blog
It's nearly showtime
It's 9:30am on Tuesday 18th February and excitement is mounting. I enter the darkened auditorium to see a shaft of light beaming through a stained glass window onto the stage.
Soon the full stage is fully lit and I see the set for the
first time. It's huge.
It's the vicarage of the character played by Warwick Davis
, The Reverend Lionel Toop, with doors and a huge set of windows at the back. This set will be fitted into each theatre on the tour.
It's taken the theatre crew a day to put the set on stage and now it's time for the actors to move into their new âhome' for the next 12 weeks.
Bob Bustance, the Lighting Designer, is putting finishing touches to the lighting design for the show. He tweaks a bit more light from the left, changes the timings of each scene and gets ready for the technical rehearsal to begin.
The technical rehearsal is where all the technical aspects of the show are rehearsed by the crew and actors for the first time. This means every scene change, entrances and exits, the use of microphones, and all the sound effects to name but a few.
There are dozens of people bustling around - all busy and working on the finer details. Set dressers, lighting technicians, carpenters and sound engineers. Every one has a job to do to make this show happen.
Behind the scenes
The Director, Eric Potts, is sitting in the auditorium going through his notes and answering questions from everyone who asks.
âWhere should this picture be hung on the set?â âIs this sound effect loud enough?â âIs there enough moon light coming through the window?â. It's a whirlwind of activity then the actors arrive.
They had a brief walk through on the set last night but now they get to really explore it. It's at this point the genius of the set is revealed. It may look like a normal set, but it's not. It's been scaled down and reduced in height for these actors so nothing looks out of place and it looks fantastic.
Top Drawer Costume
The cast are in full costume, all period clothes beautifully designed and made by Top Drawer Costume. Suddenly we're back in post war England.
Soon its 10am and Sam, the Company Stage Manager, is calling a start to rehearsals and soon the whole team are focused and working - all from page one of the script.
A complete Farce
Eric's focus as the Director is on details and the logistics of getting the technicalities right. He must also gage the timing of it all so that the play flows well.
They run the opening sequence which includes the transition of the auditorium music and house lights to the start of the play.
It's not quite right so the timings are adjusted and it's run again. When he's happy they move onto the next bit. It's slow work, but necessary.
The talented Francesca Mills |
as Ida the Maid
7 hours later
Gradually they move through the whole show. It takes 7 hours to get through a show, that at normal speed, is only 90 minutes long! Every time there is a break, the stage fills with the crew; adjusting furniture, hanging curtains, screwing pictures to the walls and tweaking the costumes.
This continues throughout the day. Rehearsing, tweaking, and re-rehearsing. Soon its dinner time and the whole team have a well deserved break in preparation for the evening.
Dress Rehearsal No.1
At 7:30pm Sam stands everyone by to start and the dress rehearsal begins; at normal speed, with no stopping and just as a normal performance would be. Across the auditorium there are a dozen of people making notes; notes that will be given to all involved after the dress rehearsal to make the show better.
Warwick and the cast of See How They Run
All the day's hard work has paid off. It runs smoothly with only a few minor hiccups. The dress rehearsal finishes around 9:30pm and the team are let go for the day. It's been a busy 12 hours but very necessary. This technical rehearsal will establish the guidelines for the show as it moves from venue to venue over the next couple of months.
Tomorrow is another dress rehearsal then the first public performance. Everyone is tired but very excited. It's shaping up to be a fantastic show and just needs one more element: the audience.
See How They Run is touring the UK until May 10th.