Whispers from the Wings

A bumpy ride

April 26, 2013

Props for Mad WorldWith just over a week to go before the company migrates to Stratford for the summer, we're getting to the point in rehearsals of A Mad World My Masters when we start to have a go at 'running' lengthy sections, sometimes entire acts or halves.

This is a bit like getting on a roller coaster; it's a lot of fun, but there's also a frisson of trepidation as you strap yourself in for what could, at times, be a bumpy ride - knowing that once it's started, you can't get off until it stops. It's also not advisable to eat a massive lunch beforehand.

Having painstakingly worked on detailed sequences of verbal and physical cues, we're all working at our utmost levels of concentration and energy to try and make sure that nothing goes wrong.

But during the first few attempts, it's inevitable that something will go awry at some point. It's incredibly frustrating when it does. You feel like you've blown all the hard work leading up to that moment. But bizarrely, it's sometimes a good thing.

During Act 2, for example, Follywit, Sponger and Oboe attempt to carry out a burglary. Try as they might, they're not particularly good at it. So when something went wrong during a recent run that stopped the scene in its tracks and made us all corpse, we realised that it was actually perfect for the scene.

We've since spent about 45 minutes working out how to recreate this thing, that originally happened completely by accident in a matter of seconds.

It's a delicious irony that puts me a little in mind of Tommy Cooper's hilariously botched magic routines. At times, it may look like chaos - but the reality is that it takes an awful lot of time and effort to make it look like you're doing something that badly.

(Unless it's a genuine mistake. But then you'll never know...)

by Ben Deery  |  No comments yet


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