Tonight was the point of no return – books down! Diana came to join us in the prompt corner and the cast boldly went (without their books.)
This is often a nightmare time for directors, but I was most agreeably surprised tonight by the level of their knowledge of their lines. OK, Diana had plenty to do, but that’s why we asked her to come, and she supported them very well. The fact that we managed to get through this long first scene twice in the evening speaks for itself. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to sit back and watch and make notes while somebody else kept their eyes on the script, and it was great to be able to start directing properly, helping to bring out all those little bits of subtext which can tell the audience so much about what these people are thinking and feeling – but not actually saying!
All the groundwork we’ve been doing with moves and props is really paying off now and when the (completely understandable) hesitancy with lines has been overcome, we’ll be able to start polishing and fine tuning all the humour to get the very most out of it – as well as the making visible the human failings and foibles which make these people believable and engage the audience’s interest in them. That’s a little way off yet – but it will come.