April 12, 2012
I notice that the front page of the text we are using says - Sixth Draft, first version. David Edgar is continually making changes to the play.
A kind of one man mirror image of the many clerics in the script toiling over the new King James Bible. Sometimes we are given new speeches. Sometimes tiny alterations.
David realises that characters using the phrase 'Of course' is too modern and he substitutes it with 'Indeed'.
Sometimes he makes small cuts, but nothing so big as to depress an actor. Cuts are on the whole never welcome. They unsettle an actor, break his rhythm and breed insecurity.
As I mainly do 'old' plays where everything is written in stone, these rewrites and changes are novel and always for the better.
But as we near run-throughs and the fast approaching opening night I find myself saying under my breath 'Enough, David. Enough!'. In the last stages of rehearsal most actors, especially we older ones, want the security of scriptural constancy. Nerves.
by James Hayes
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