Whispers from the Wings

We bid Clapham, adieu

July 30, 2012

This is it. This is the last week of rehearsals. How is it possible that six weeks have passed by so quickly? It's the end of the road! There's no turning back now. S**t.

Much Ado wedding stageIt felt like such a luxury on day one knowing that we had six weeks and yet – as is ALWAYS the way – we spent the last week fretting, panicking, pulling our hair out (those of us that still have any hair left!) and chain-smoking like there's no tomorrow.

The PR and media spotlight has been thrust on us this week with a plethora of press and a mountain of media coverage across the board. The interest in the play is flattering. It's always an honour to be part of something that people are enthused about experiencing – and it certainly WILL be an experience! I can tell yer that for nowt!

We spent the majority of this week fine-tuning the play and running it as many times as we could. The run at the start of the week was a bit like a train wreck. The run at the end of the week was something you'd actually pay money to see! Phew. Iqbal went through each run and gave us all notes on how to better ourselves, how to really make sense of what we're saying and how to make sure we can say the lines and not trip over the furniture. Or maybe that was Noel Coward?

Much Ado music sceneryI said in the last blog why I was determined to work with Iqbal again. I don't often mince my words (or adjectives) so here's why: Iqbal was at his inspiring-best this week. He commands the space and grabs your attention with verve and gusto. It's mesmerising. He has a very calm way of working. He's very generous. He gives every single one of us attention regardless of size of part or CV and has an innate ability to speak to every individual actor 'on a level'. It helps that he doesn't take himself too seriously and socialises with the cast, too. If there is a director-actor hierarchy, he dispels it with immediate effect.

This week, he urged us all to be loose, to live dangerously, to be free, to take risks, to think outside the box, to not make it easy for ourselves, to never be comfortable with one another and to not go for the obvious choices – wherever possible. Sublime words of wisdom and echoes of a certain Henry V speech are felt!

Much Ado About Nothing sceneryOur production of Much Ado will have a live band on stage and this was the week they came in and we got introduced. And they jammed. And HOW they jammed! What a great band. Strings, a dhol, keyboards, a drum kit, a double-bass, a baja (harmonium) and a singer who sounds just like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – a beautiful, searing and haunting voice. We were in awe.

As Friday arrived and we all waved goodbye to Clapham, we inevitably felt sad. Set, props, costumes and instruments were packed away in cases 'n' boxes and loaded into a lorry. Sob. The rehearsal room was cleared out and all the etchings, brainstormed ideas, historical and geographical references – which we'd blu-tacked across the four walls – were taken down. Memories and ideas shared all removed. It's now time to meld everything together and take it up 100 miles north of here. Next stop: Stratford-upon-Avon...

by Muzz Khan  |  No comments yet

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