July 23, 2013
Well, the efforts are paying off; we've performed Henry V in front of four paying audiences, in the magnificent location of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, alongside Nelson's iconic flagship HMS Victory – a stirring sight, especially in the battle scenes.
As you may imagine, this was not without a few crises on the way; aside from the occasional hiccups in the tech rehearsal ('I can't see your axe to strike it with my sword because the spotlight is right behind you' or 'Why did the fight music start in the middle of the monologue?').
We had a few lost lines (some in the dress rehearsal, and one or two 'on the night(s)' which were mostly covered fairly well), and some serious trouble with uninvited 'extras' joining us on stage.
It seems that some of the props, namely hunks of bread and cheese, were too tempting for the local seagull population, and some, braver than the rest, risked assorted swords, axes and the like to enter the fray and steal pieces of food.
One gull, obviously with eyes bigger than stomach, tried to lift a wedge of cheddar cheese almost as big as itself, dropped it in flight, and then tried to drag it off on foot! No first night nerves for that bird – but it was the cause of at least one cast member corpsing!
However, the show must go on – and it did, to good reviews from both press critics and audience members – including some from the RSC.
The next step is to check the blocking to fit the acting space at The Dell, where we are performing in a week's time – the climax of three month's work by all concerned, and an event everyone is looking forward to.
by Tim Stoneman
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