Whispers from the Wings

A 12-foot high new toy

April 19, 2013

Mad World My Masters sceneryThis has been an exciting week in the Mad World rehearsal room. Partly because we found ourselves running the second half of the play (blimey, how did that happen?), and partly because the RSC has built us a new toy.

It's about 12 feet tall and 10 feet across. Sort of wedge shaped. It's got doors that allow you to get in and out of it and a big Perspex window. And there's a sort of a balcony bit, but I wouldn't advise climbing up there.

Because it's on wheels.

On one side, it serves for the exterior of the 2 i's Cafe. On another, the interior of the hall of Sir Bounteous's whopping country pile.

With each rotation, one wonders where we will be transported next. It's like an episode of Playdays but live, and with dialogue by Thomas Middleton. And without any of the rubbish stops. I'm writing a blog post about a piece of scenery, for goodness sake. That's how good it is.

During scenes, the block is safely secured in place. Then, at the beginning of a scene change, Jonny and Joe run on and activate the hydraulics, which hoist the piece up onto its wheels, making it easier to manoeuvre across the stage.

Do no push unless authorised buttonThe buttons that control this extraordinary mechanism are all marked, 'Do not push unless authorised,' which is something of a red rag to a bull for me. Somehow I've managed to control myself so far.

Meanwhile, in Rome, we've been choreographing the final scene's gory and balletic fight sequence. This has mainly involved us spending hours experimenting with the most inventive and impressive ways of maiming each other. All part of the healthy cast-bonding process, really...

by Ben Deery  |  No comments yet

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