Rehearsal Blog #4: Design for Living: A Polished Veneer

Assistant Director on Design for Living and Noel Coward Bursary Trainee at the Playhouse, Kate McGregor gives us a glimpse into the rehearsal room:

Rehearsals are over. It’s been a vigorous rush to the finish line but we’ve made it! Fine tuning this week has  been a complicated process, striking a balance between the excitement of getting it right and the frustration of knowing a moment needs to be unpicked and rebuilt. Hopefully all the pieces are now in place, all that’s really left to do is get it in front of an audience.

We spent Monday through to Wednesday fixing sections from week 3, polishing entrances and exits, refining wordplay, pouring brandy and perfecting social poise. On Thursday we had our second run through, attended by the technical team. In comparison to the week before, it was rewarding to see the play move forward dramatically. Afterwards the actors received notes from Director Caroline Leslie highlighting which parts still needed attention. In the morning of Friday we went to work on solving those remaining issues and tightening it up in readiness for our third run.

In the afternoon on Friday Artistic Director Gareth Machin, Company Stage Manager Hannah Benoy and members of the Wardrobe department came to see our final showing. We’re now gaining a practical understanding of the agility required to deliver this play.  Coward only begins to sparkle when its actors know the language inside out; a lightness of touch artfully under pinned by the emotional truth of the moment. The satisfaction of hitting the text in the right way has allowed our company to relish the playing of it, bringing the joy and inventiveness required to fuel a four week run of a three act play.

Now, we enter ‘Tech Week’ as we prepare to enter the world of the 1930s, all our cast will be receiving a Coward makeover – haircuts, trims, colours and styling advice. I look forward to our company finally making the transition into their new home on stage. We’ve got some serious set changes to negotiate during our technical rehearsals – fingers crossed it all runs smoothly. Only 4 days and counting.

The model box of Otto's 'rather shabby' Paris apartment

Noel Coward Word of the Week: Clacking (Gilda to Otto, Act 2) definition: to chatter thoughtlessly and at length. Origin from Middle English ‘clakken’.

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