If you go down to the woods today
July 19, 2013
We have been rehearsing in nearby Nutclough Woods (re-christened The Nutclough Dell).
Last year these woods were badly damaged by floods, but in the current sunshine they are beautiful again and provide a natural amphitheatre.
We mark out the stage space with long sticks, our dressing room is a wooden tipi which the children call their house and picnics are enjoyed (both with and without teddy bears).
At our last rehearsal a log stood in for Henry VI's coffin. In the hope that the actors won't be as wooden. Mary stands on a hillock, sometimes with young assistants, calling out 'boring' if we do too much standing around.
To avoid being boring we have been adding in lots of movement: Clarence is bounced around the stage by his murderers, the citizens roam the audience, the messenger pigeon swoops and carries his messages between his claws beautifully and Elizabeth Woodville is wonderfully demented when her husband, Edward VI, dies.
Elsewhere in Hebden Bridge, The King's Troupe Pop-Up Theatre continues. Buckingham and the Duchess of York crept up on the Prince(ss) in the Tower last week: Buckingham managed a few lines before the Prince(ss) attacked his shins with an imaginary sword and ran off to school.
Hastings was beheaded by Richard in the market place, and on a different day was cursed there by me (he was pushing his baby brother in his buggy so the curses were toned down a touch, I'll get him next time though!).
The Prince(ss) chased Richard down street: he laughed in an evil fashion (a la Vincent Price) and declaimed his most menacing lines; she poked her tongue out at him and sang 'Richard's a dromedary, just the one hump…'. Luckily our neighbours are used to our in-the-street-rehearsals!
Further afield, in Sussex, nine-year-old Blunt (a long-time member of our group) is learning his lines; he and Richmond have some Skype sessions scheduled and hopefully they'll spend at least some of it rehearsing as well as discussing all things Pokémon.
We are rehearsing one act a time: next week it's Act 5 with the ghosts haunting Richard and the battle scene … we can't wait!
by Ellen Mateer
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