Whispers from the Wings

Titus Andronicus tech - as it happened

May 30, 2013

Swan Theatre10:23am: I'm lying on my back with my head poking out of a body bag. It's quite an unusual vantage point from which to view the Swan, but what I was able to see of the set before I was zipped into this thing looked fantastic.

10:36am: The Andronici arrive, each kitted out in bespoke armour created by the RSC's fantastic armoury. They strut commandingly about the stage, a formidable and intimidating regiment of five. I watch them go about the proud but solemn rituals of the opening scene for as long as I can before the crick in my neck becomes unbearable.

10:52am: John Hopkins as Saturninus and Richard Goulding as Bassianus arrive on the balcony above me. Their opening salvos create the sense of a Rome in turmoil, poised on a precipice of uncertainty. It's also nice that I can watch them without having to move my head.

10:56am : Rose Reynolds arrives, costumed and wigged for Lavinia's first entrance. She looks radiant and ethereal and, for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on, a bit like a Jedi Knight.

11:03am: I suppose Titus Andronicus is a bit like Star Wars, really. If you take Titus as Han Solo, Marcus as Obi Wan, Lucius as Luke, all rebelling against the might of the Empire. I guess Tamora would be Darth Vader. My character, Publius, is probably Jar Jar Binks.

11:09am: I've thought this through. Titus Andronicus is NOTHING like Star Wars.

11:37am: Still in the body bag. One of my feet has gone to sleep and I have to ask our ASM, Tom, to itch my nose with his pencil. He obliges reluctantly.

11:54am: Tom has left his pencil protruding from my right nostril. He thinks this is funny. However, my reduced ability to breathe, combined with the fact that I'm zipped from head to toe into a body bag, has sparked off a mild panic that soon gives way to a morbid and sombre reflection on the nature of my own mortality.

12:03pm: When they explained this bit of the show to me – the bit where I would be zipped from head to toe into a body bag – I remember thinking, 'Well at least I don't have a phobia of being buried alive'. I now have a phobia of being buried alive.

12:23pm: You know what I haven't had for ages? A ploughman's sandwich. I really fancy one now.

1:00 pm: Lunch has been called, but apparently it's easier for all concerned if I just stay where I am. I ask Dwayne if he minds getting me a ploughman's sandwich from the canteen.

1:01 pm: Dwayne is unable to get me a ploughman's sandwich from the canteen. He's also zipped from head to toe into a body bag.

2:15pm: Work resumes on stage. Kevin Harvey's costume is superb, and the wig department have given him dreadlocks. He looks cool. I'm jealous of him because of how cool he looks. I'm also jealous of him because he's vertical.

2:47pm: Still in the body bag.

2:50pm: I'm worried that Katy Stevens will read this and be annoyed at me for comparing Tamora to Darth Vader earlier.

2:51pm: I'm worried that Katy Stephens will read this and be annoyed at me for misspelling her surname just then.

3:12pm: We use the trap a fair bit in our production. This means that we have to tech those moments carefully, as there's effectively sometimes a two-and-a-half metre hole in the middle of the stage. It makes for some terrific effects, though, none of which I want to spoil by writing about here.

3:28pm: Still in the body bag. Fall asleep.

10:32pm: Wake up. The lights are all off and I think I just heard somebody locking up the front of house…

Body bag

by Ben Deery  |  4 comments


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Comments

May 30, 2:38pm
Lucien

That's very funny. It deserves a wider audience.

May 30, 9:30pm
Stu-Pac

You gave me a craving for a Ploughmans.

May 31, 1:12am
José B

Chortle. This is very funny. And the bit about you being buried alive reminds me of Ros & Guil. Sigh...

May 31, 2:50pm
Katy Stephens

Dear Bon Doory
You mispolt my name AND compare me to Darth Vadar......?! Or did you mean DAFT Vadar?
You will be punished!!!!!!!
I think you is no wot I mean!!!!!!!
Luv Katey Steeeeppphens xxx

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