October 26, 2011
We have arrived. I am writing this entry sitting over-looking the Avon next to a string of rowing boats named Ophelia, Miranda, Viola, Volumnia... You see the pattern. I have died and gone to Shakespeare Heaven. We left Clapham two days ago and reconvened, after a variety journeys, in the Dirty Duck; I remember walking past this infamous pub on a school trip to see Sam West's Hamlet and being told, 'Oh that's where all the actors drink.' THAT'S ME NOW! Obviously just an orange juice and lemonade as we have got a tech to do!
We descended on the Swan yesterday for Written on the Heart's first technical rehearsal; this is where the action meets the effects, putting in all the lighting cues and props to enhance what has already been produced in the rehearsal room: to create the finished product.
We were met with the most beautiful, ornate set any of us could have ever imagined. It depicts the inside of a church, with the most incredibly detailed carvings, a grand altar and spookily atmospheric lighting. The set looks as if it has always been a part of The Swan, which is a glorious wooden building, where even a slight whisper will travel to the other side of the space.
Written on the Heart, is becoming a real entity, no longer just words on a page or movements around a space, but a living, breathing piece of theatre. The play seems to transcend two worlds, that of the history we are portraying and that of the actors living it in the moment. It is one of the most intellectual and detailed plays I have ever been a part of, yet also the most moving. Even if in our costumes we do look like a 16th Century vicar's tea party...
Bring on first night!
Photo: View across the Bancroft Gardens from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, taken by Laura.
by Laura Darrall
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