Whispers from the Wings

The nitty gritty

April 16, 2013

I have been informed by the beauteous Philippa Harland (Head of Press) that I really should be talking more about the play so...

We have press night tonight. It has been pretty intense so far but The Director, in his infinite wisdom, has decided not to call us in for rehearsals since we have opened. I was amazed to learn that we have performed Caesar 140 times.140! You would think we should know what we are doing. You would think. Still cub to learn. And as I have mentioned previously, we have new members of the team and it has been a while... still, no excuses.

The space is wonderful. BAM has a long association with the RSC and you can see why. A real theatre full of real theatre people. There doesn't seem to be enough space for us all backstage but somehow we manage to cram ourselves in.

Adjoa Andoh mentioned only yesterday that so much of New York seems to be a TARDIS. it seems like there isn't space but then you step inside and... voila!

The staff are incredibly keen to help. I feel a little like theatrical stars must have felt in the past. I have never had dressers hanging things up for me. Water being passed to me, items being returned, almost mystically to my desk. One could get used to this.

This is perhaps an apt moment to mention the union Issue. In America, the union does not allow non members of their theatrical union to be anything more than supervisors. So our crew can advise and demonstrate, but essentially are there in a mentor role.there is a lot to admire about this although I can imagine how frustrating this could be for our crew, who are so keen to get involved to make things go quicker. When I was studying acting (all those many, many years ago) you could not perform on an English stage without having an Equity card. But you could not get an Equity card without doing a job. A conundrum.

But you could get one if you went to a registered drama school. Or you could become a stripper. I kid you not. Anyway, when you got your card, the sense of pride and achievement and belonging was immense. We lost that union strength some time ago. And I can't help admire America's refusal to do the same.

I am growing a beard, as I mentioned to you. I feel like I'm incredibly in attractive at this moment in time. Not a good place to be when going on stage. I will have to act I suppose.

The space is very wide and has a...distressed surround which actually fits in perfectly with our setting. The Gods contrive... The audience are on the same level as the stage on the front row which means they are very very close. It also means you can occasionally see them craning their necks around an actor to see another part of the stage. It is perhaps my fave thing in theatre, besides the rustle of programmes and per- lights down coughs, to see audiences desperate to see what is happening.

It is raining today. Damn.

Go see some theatre. It keeps you slim and adds years to your life. Allegedly.

by Andrew French  |  No comments yet

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