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Pygmalion: Behind the Scenes with Natasha Hyman, Week 4

Mon 30 January, 2017

Pygmalion: Behind the Scenes with Natasha Hyman, Week 4

Assistant Director, Natasha Hyman, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at week 4 of Pygmalion rehearsals.

We began this week with a move up North for our final full week of rehearsals before we go into tech and then open at West Yorkshire Playhouse. The show has come together in its entirety this week, and Sam has been focusing on the heightened physical language of the piece and the technical journey.

We have had video designer Will Duke, lighting designer Jack Knowles and sound designer Max Ringham in the room with us at points throughout the week to ensure a consistent language across all aspects of the production. We are now able to see the filmed sequences from our shoot last week, and we are projecting these onto the wall of the rehearsal room, which allows us to fully understand how the video works in relation with the stage action. It’s imperative that we practice this to make sure that both the actors and stage management are familiar with the way this interaction works.

We have been perfecting our Act 1 sound experiment, which involves tight choreography and very specific notes, as well as a number of re-records of the voices of cast and non-cast to ensure consistency in the sound quality. Max and sound operator Matt Russell have been working on the sound desk that Higgins and Pickering manipulate onstage in Act 2. These sounds are created from cast recordings (see the trailer for a sense of this - youtu.be/V1qsAYPS.JwU), which can then be modulated using the desk. We’ve been practicing this to make sure that the onstage queues work effectively and in time with offstage sound queues.

We have been speaking about the different flavour of each act, and this is clarifying as rehearsals progress. We’ve been pushing the heightened language of the piece, as well as the contemporary references. The first act is almost like a cartoon, and as the play moves forward the heightened language strips away to make space for the dissection of the issues in the play.

Next week we are doing our last piece of filming and we start tech on Wednesday!

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