On Roadblocks, First Meetings and Next Steps
So, it's been a while but here I am! Life has gotten in the way a little, and kept me from writing (also, over the first half of the year, there really wasn't much to right about). But things are picking up now, and soon we'll be off to the races. Since announcing the play on March 7, here is what you've missed ...
A Few Roadblocks
Only a few short weeks after the official announcement of the show, we had a few setbacks; two (nearly four) actors had to pull out for various reasons, leaving me without an Algernon, a Gwendolyn (she's now working for a touring company in London - go Alice!) and almost a Jack and Chasuable. After some panicked scrambling (and, to be honest, a few fleeting moments of "maybe it would be easier to just cancel" from me), we were able to find an outstanding new Algernon (yay Pepper!) and I have stepped into the role of Gwendolyn.
Although I love Gwendolyn Fairfax (having played her once before), and in the early days it had crossed my mind to play her myself, I decided against it because I figured producing and stage managing would be enough (thank goodness I'm not directing too). And yet, here I am, several months later, in the role of actor. What is that saying, about the best laid plans? Obviously, this means I'm going to have to find a new stage manager (or at least an assistant), but I think producing whilst acting will turn out alright, mainly due to the exceptional talent I have onboard already.
Our First Meeting
About four weeks ago, in early June, I had a meeting with Caroline (our director) to talk about her concept for the show. Of course, this was not a "first meeting", as Caroline and I have worked together before, but after several months of correspondence by email, it was a good face-to-face hashing out of logistics, as well as ideas for how to slightly modernize Earnest without losing its essence (and I'm not giving away any details yet, so don't even try!)
Then we had our first real meeting, our first read-through. Caroline, most of the actors (Jack, Lane/Merriman, and Cecily all being out of the country at the time), as well as Anita - representing our design team - met at my apartment on a Saturday afternoon. Caroline talked through her ideas, we discussed and then we did a first table read of the play. The whole thing took about 3 hours and after everyone left it felt - for me, anyway - a lot more real.
It's strange how you can have pressure removed and new pressure added at the exact same moment. If you've never experienced the feeling, I'm not quite sure how to describe it. In one sense, I felt a huge amount of relief after the read-through. For 10 months I had been carrying this idea around. I had been working on fundraising and securing a theatre etc. largely on my own. Of course, I had communications with the actors and the director but it (by and large) only existed in my head. After the read-through, after ten months, I felt like it was being let out and everyone is carrying it now, not just me.
However, it's a double-edged sword because now it's real for everyone. Before, when it was just me, when it was just in my head, there was (seemingly) less at stake. If it failed or got canceled or didn't work, it didn't really matter because I was the only one really involved. I was the only one who would be let down. Not so anymore. Now, if it doesn't work, there are several other people who are a part of it too. Several other people who will be let down. Ahh!
Anyway, it's the summer holidays now and my students won't be back for another five weeks. My Masters program is done in 2.5 and then I will really have time to work through my ever-growing to-do list. Some of the most pertinent things to do are:
- Finalize rehearsal space (we have several possibilities in play)
- Secure technical crew
- Design flyer
- Start publicity
- Fundraise (this is not my forte at all, but we need to keep raising money, so we need to keep thinking of ideas how to raise money)
We have approximately 6 weeks before the first rehearsal (!!) and I know time will fly. I hope to be back to post again before that, but if not, I will definitely have things to share (and maybe even some photos!) of Week 1.
As always, please share the blog and website and encourage people to follow the White Rabbit :D