Due Course | Rehearsal Diary | Dickie Garton, Writer and Performer

Monday 24 June 2013

First day of rehearsals for Due Course. Pretty easy day for me really – Mel’s Leaving Do and Priorities were being rehearsed, neither of which I’m actually in. Instead I spent most of the day writing another bridging sequence (with the help of Debs) and running lines with people. Spent the last hour working on the prologue, which is still looking fairly messy – we made some progress, but it feels like this section has a long way to go.

Tuesday 25th June

Better day today, felt like we nailed the prologue down a lot more this morning. Tilly introduced some Lecoq stuff to the ensemble which helped a lot in creating diversity in our movement styles. Also had some fun creating tableaus from the various plays using costumes – Chris and I were accused of ‘sexually abusing the show’ by Tilly.

Played a game of keepy-up which is apparently going to be an ongoing thing – I let the team down repeatedly in establishing a decent record, but it was fun. I seem to be establishing a reputation for being clumsy, ripping maps in half and snickering at innuendos (I do this a lot- but surely ‘Croom is playing with Susannah’ deserved a laugh).

The afternoon was good too – worked through Until Then. Script is down now so finally getting comfortable with the character of Liam. Got my costume now as well – snazzy cardy over browny-green ‘river person’ gear. Finally got to see a run of Mel’s Leaving Do, which I really enjoyed – some interesting but good choices have been made. It is horrifically awkward and Tilly has really extracted the comedy from certain bits- for example, when Ryan (Chris) makes his drunken speech it seems like he is about to stop at one point, much to Tim’s (Sam’s) relief, but then he carries on.

Spent some time practicing dressing Chris as Croom, which was a bit awkward but fun and I think it will look pretty cool. Overall it felt like a full, productive day – we still have a lot of work to do, however.

Note of the day from Tilly: ‘please do not refer to your fellow actors as “fridge”.’

Wednesday 26th June

Got to New Perspectives sickeningly early – even so, I was the 8th person there. People seem to be getting keener as the week goes on.

Started with a long vocal warm up, which was surprisingly effective – my voice felt quite powerful by the end of it. After this we spent a long time working through the prologue – we have a lot of the costume and set/props now so this was a lot more fruitful, and it felt like we made considerable progress with it.

Began running through properly after lunch, with the beginning of Until Then followed by the play itself. This felt okay, although I got a little bit tongue-tied and the new set took a while to get used to. Made it through the Until Then/Mel’s Leaving Do bridging sequence after much repetition. There’s a bit where I guzzle of mouthful of what is supposed to be white wine, but is actually apple squash. I grimaced, and Tilly asked if I was going to be okay to drink it- totally convinced by my brilliant acting.

I’m aware of how little time we’ve spent on the latter 2 plays, but the method of running through the whole thing in order means that we’ll be working on that stuff solidly tomorrow. This feels like a slightly odd way of working (normally I would expect to fully block and rehearse the scripted plays separately before looking at scene changes), but it seems logical when it comes to this show.

Current keepy-up record is now 38 after a spectacular round just after lunch.

Friday 28th June

Two-thirds of the way through rehearsals, and the tiredness that has begun to strike people down has finally hit me. Today we began doing stumble-throughs of the entire show. We did surprisingly well, I thought – a few hiccups, but after today it feels like we actually have a show.

The much-anticipated pasty-day was a bit of a disappointment – no veggie pasties left, which ruled out several ensemble members. There were actually only 2 pasties left, which Jen and I snapped up. Much annoyance as my big bag of doritos had disappeared from the cupboard, and no-one in the building claimed responsibility. Laura and Emma P were temporarily the prime suspects, as they had stayed in the building til late last night and weren’t around to deny it – but it turns out they had no idea about it.

Saturday 29th June

Armed forces day nearly made me late – had to walk up to Royal Centre to catch the tram. When I told Tilly about my missing doritos she said it was the angriest she’d ever seen me.

Really put through my paces today – This morning Debs and I were led through a series of exercises to loosen up more and access our characters better. This was fun – most of it was centred around box-stacking while maintaining a certain behavioural quirk (written on flashcards), and we also did some work on maintaining eye-contact while stacking crates.

The most productive part, though, was where we had to insert a certain rude word into our lines, to help us find the correct emphasis – which was incredibly useful. This enabled me to be a lot angrier as Liam. Also I was forced to go through Until Then without letting my hands drop below my waist (my hands have always been a problem in acting), which felt awkward but gave me a better idea of what I should be doing – I suppose even if a hand gesture seems like too much it will always look smaller on stage. We also did some stuff with objectives, which was done using footballs – I had to try and give Debs a ball while she tried to take one off Theresa (who was filling in for Jen).

Exhausting but useful morning. Final pot of coffee at lunch, shared by Emma H, Charlotte, Debs and myself. Feel glad to have provided the cast with a fix of proper coffee each day.

Did two full run-throughs this afternoon- minus Ellen, who had to work today. Charlotte stood in for her, while Tilly read her lines – this was surreal, but Charlotte did a brilliant job considering the complexity of all the routines we’ve established this week. First run wasn’t brilliant – I forgot a lot of the Liam stuff we’d come up with this morning (although Tilly said she was very impressed) and a few things went wrong with the scene changes. Second run was a lot better. Finished the day by packing all the props up ready to be loaded into the van on Monday. Excited – it all feels real now, and I believe that this has the potential to be a brilliant show.

Waited around for a lift afterwards, and Laura and Emma P joked that I looked like the kid whose parents had forgotten to pick him up. They have done some excellent work, and have put in tons of hours to get everything ready. I feel like the combination of the brilliant design, gorgeously atmospheric music (written by Chris), slick acting and excellent scripts will make this a top-notch show. Not to forget the rigorous direction by Tilly and Theresa and tireless organisational efforts by producers Charlotte and Elanor, without which we’d have only a pale imitation of a piece of theatre.

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