Well, that’s what I hoped, until a phone call from a very poorly sounding John during the afternoon.
However, in compensation, Martin turned up on time – presumably the cricket got rained off – although Steve was stuck on the great car park that is the A14 in a bad mood. Stuff happens. We got on with it. (“It” being blocking the first scene.)
One of the biggest challenges of this play is getting everyone in the right place at the right time, so taking time to get the moves co-ordinated is vital at this early stage. I thought allowing five rehearsals for blocking was possibly overkill, but now I’m glad I did so. It’s interesting how what looks, on paper, as though it will work OK, turns out not to be so successful with real people. We stopped and tweaked a bit until I was happy that what the audience would see was a better and clearer picture of the complex inter-relations in the Bunker household on Christmas Eve. It’s also interesting how what you think is the wide expanse of the Swavesey stage looks worryingly small when you mark it out on the floor of Bar Hill School hall. I realise I’m fortunate that our audience will be on raked seating looking down on the action – the demands of the set for Season’s Greetings must make keeping clear sightlines a nightmare on a traditional proscenium stage.
We got through the scene in time, but my intention to run it again had to go by the board. Luckily everyone was writing down all their moves, so it shouldn’t be too difficult recreating them when we reach the stage of running the play scene by scene (last week in July.) We didn’t have time for any character work either, but I’ve set them a challenge for next Tuesday – what’s your character’s back story? The challenge for me will be making sure we have time to hear them all!