It seems this rehearsal period is almost at an end and you still don’t know very much about how it’s been going, do you? Well, it’s been going great, thanks! Oh. Well, what I mean is, that I sort of expected, as you did too no doubt, that there would be a bit of drama off stage as well as on. There almost always is. What’s live theatre without a bit of drama, after all? But in actual fact, we have had comparatively very little drama. I know! How refreshing! Indeed, the focus has been, at each and every rehearsal, on the scene work itself and how to get a better result from just those involved in the short time allowed.
It may seem to some of you, especially if the theatre is not something you are involved in beyond being an audience member, that this is a very strange thing to be making a point about. I think it has been a major point of difference to the success of this production. We have not had company members sitting idle at rehearsals and thus, we have avoided all sorts of petty conversations and criticisms that one has, sadly, and come to expect in community/amateur theatre. Of course it takes all sorts. We are lucky that the sort of people drawn to this show are those who are able to listen to each other and respond accordingly, generously and supportively; feeling the shifts in energy and compensating for somebody being a bit down on themselves or somebody else having had a hard day at work or a horrid day at home. These are the sort of people with whom I would like to keep producing great theatre. These are also the people I’m proud to count amongst my friends.
After a tough tech week, during which we allowed the crew to come in and take over the theatre, previously having claimed it as our own, we can see now that we do, indeed, have a great show. Last night’s rehearsal tied some loose ends together (quite literally- wait to see the ribbon put to good use) and we had our film makers, Simon and Evita, backstage with us, capturing those candid conversations, preparations and the interesting/scary/revelatory moments just before and after the usual (or unusual) entrances and exits. Fascinating stuff. Only I hope I didn’t say anything really stupid in the dressing room. Other than encountering, for the first time ever, difficulties with my make up – the pancake took a dislike to me and refused to adhere – oh and being thrown to the floor rather more viciously than usual and sustaining injuries to a foot and an elbow during the scene with Shane (what WERE you on, Shane?!), I think I did okay. I think we can achieve some clever edits there. As we say, we’ll fix it in post.
So anyway, tonight was never going to be a night off, as some had hoped. We scheduled an extra rehearsal some time ago, in order to get what we needed on film. Here’s the drill, just so you know what we are up to as you make your Milo and head off to bed with a good book:
- 6:30pm call for 7:30pm curtain
- wide shot of the entire show. This means we run the show as per usual. The shot will be from the bio box.
- medium shot of the entire show. This means we run the show a second time. The shot will be from the stalls.
Hahahahaha! I will just say, there are just the stalls at Noosa Arts Theatre. It’s a teeny, tiny, lovely little theatre of around 100 seats…
hope you’ve booked!
- Close Ups and reversals. This means that, sometime close to midnight no doubt, after extra tea, coffee, chocolate, miso and a few more cigarettes than are really needed (Sam…) we will be running each scene several times to capture various aspects of character, relationship and story. And some really good out-takes I’m guessing, for the special features!
This is the real film part, friends. The part where we do take after take after take, to make sure we have everything we need for the doco. I don’t mind it. Actually, I hate the camera but I don’t mind being filmed by it, you know? This is the part that we can still control a little. After tonight we have an audience. La Ronde previews tomorrow night and opens on Thursday night. Tonight we can still manipulate the telling of the story to a greater degree than once we have that live (and mostly unforgiving) audience in front of us. We can’t go back and do something again if we are not happy with it. Oh, the thrill of live theatre!
I guess I will sleep at the end of April. Whatever.
It was always our intention to film the show in HD (that’s High Def, High Definition, folks. Don’t worry, I will learn the lingo with you) and capture the creative process on the little hand held camcorder. I love this whole rough-as-guts thing while we work and then we reveal the all-shiny-and-new look for the performance. It’s a message about the façade of the theatre. The façade of life! No, no, not really, we’ve not talked about that at all; I just threw that in…
It’s true though: most audiences don’t really care what came before. They are interested in the product. Of course, social media and access to all manner of blogs and reviews online as well as programs like Inside the Actors Studio and the special features on every DVD have, perhaps a little insidiously, been educating our audiences to expect more. I do believe this to be a good thing. THIS IS A GOOD THING, PEOPLE! It is part of what we aim to do with La Ronde.
Sam (the director, if you’ve only just joined us…Hi!) has said all along that he wanted to offer a number of challenges to actors AND audiences. And part of the point of filming what comes before, is to pull back the curtain (yes, sorry, look, I can’t believe I said that either) on how the product is created, helping to foster the audiences’ interest in the performing arts and thereby, garnering their SUPPORT FOR THE ARTS. I know. Sigh. It’s been done before. But never like this! Oh. Yes, it has and I think I have already referred to the brilliant insight that is In the Company of Actors and (yes, this old chestnut) The Making of Miss Saigon. I’m sure there are others out there but these two documentaries in particular, have inspired us and influenced our approach to this show, as serious work – to be continued – in community theatre.
Once we’ve shared this little show with the Sunshine Coast we intend to take it to…well, who knows where? I hope you will find us…there…and I hope some of you will come along for the ride.