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By Natasha Hyman, Assistant Director
Tech week! On Saturday we ended our fourth week with a run, and various producers and artistic directors from Headlong, Nuffield and West Yorkshire Playhouse attended. This was the first time we had shared the entirety of the piece with an audience. It was daunting but also exciting to share the work and get some feedback.
We then spent the first two days of this week in the rehearsal room, working on sections before getting into the theatre. There were a few changes that Sam Pritchard (Director) wanted to make following the Saturday run, including some changes to Acts One and Two. One of these changes included taking our sonic experiment to the next level in Act One – we found some more opportunities where we could alter voices to challenge the audience further.
While we were doing this, the set was being put together in the space by the technical staff at the Playhouse, and our sound, lighting and audiovisuals were being set up – rigging and tweaking gear in preparation to begin tech on Wednesday morning.
Our technical rehearsal has taken a general shape of putting a draft version on each Act and then going back over it with a finer brush to find the detail in moments. As I write we are going back over Act One, fine-tuning how the lighting clarifies the concept, and solidifying the actors’ physical blocking.
Much of this stage of the process involves making sure that the concept takes the audience on a clear journey. We need to make sure that every part of the production (the design, lighting, sound and AV) contributes to this structure and are all working to together to deliver a clear idea.
Alex Lowde has been making tweaks to costume and dressing the set to find the right choices for the world. We’ve got a fair number of costume changes in this show –I counted six changes for Eliza alone. Everyone is looking pretty stylish; Alex has chosen a language of branding and trend to translate class differences and aspiration to the modern-day.
We’ve also been enjoying having our glass box. It’s pretty spectacular, and involves a team of highly efficient stage managers to move it on and off-stage in the transitions. Both our glass box and our sound booth are relatively soundproof which can make communicating with actors during tech a slight challenge…! Working on our set makes it clear that the stage environment supports the sonic journey at the heart of our production.
I’m looking forward to our first dress rehearsal this evening, and seeing how an audience will respond to this robust modern take on Pygmalion.