July 3, 2012
Everything suddenly going very fast with time racing away... here we are well into the second week of rehearsals, and 30 or so opinions are being brought to bear on the world I am trying to create as the cast and rest of the creative team start to focus on the play in earnest.
Sabine (Costume Supervisor) is back from Delhi, having run the gauntlet of Customs with nine suitcases-worth of purchases, these range from the beauty of ornate wedding outfits to the grimy India-specific knock-off T-shirts and sunglasses available on market stalls.
We spent a couple of days unloading and grouping according to possible characters, to wait for Himani's visit at the end of the week when we will be able to discuss with the actors how they see their characters.
The big challenge is to keep hold of the overall storytelling visual framework and the progression of colours through the show we have planned, while being open enough to allow in the ideas and freshness that comes from the actors' own discoveries.
One of the biggest challenges is trying to work out where our musicians will go; it is RSC policy to have live music and, where possible, to see the players.
Originally I thought they might go in a gallery on the roof of my Haveli, but this idea got cut to save costs. Then I had hoped that I could put them in a niche at ground level to one side of the stage, but Andy the sound designer is nervous that the sound will get un balanced, with the portion of the audience nearest to the musicians getting deafened!
They have now moved into a part of the house and we will take off the doors (not built yet anyway!) and maybe make a new window so they can be seen more easily.
The cast have been improvising around weddings and sharing stories of their own experiences of Indian festivities. Details such as how the Mandap (wedding stage) are set out are especially useful for me, but more inspiring were the general levels of excitement and joyful chaos. Let's hope they can bring all that to bear on the play itself!
by Tom Piper
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