What is it like to put on a theatre production? I don’t know why, but a memory springs to mind of a day spent with a friend (several years ago now), who was at the time a TV director. My friend had three tasks that they were filming on behalf of the show she was working on, all related to World Record Beating:
1. The most number of people in an old style London telephone box: we equalled the old record of 12, but not the current record of 14.
2. The most number of live snails on a human face... my face!: 16, nowhere near the record - impossible keeping the slimy gastropods actually on your face - they are very wilful and move much quicker than they are reputed to.
3. The longest Michael Jackson-style “moonwalk” by someone wearing a spacesuit: it wasn’t a real spacesuit and the guy’s feet got super hot from all the friction! It was, however, an unofficial record by way of nobody ever having attempted such foolishness previously. Always good to be a first!
Of course there are many more dimensions to producing a theatre show than these three TV tasks can illustrate, but I think they paint a pretty good, miniaturised picture of the kind of team spirited madness one has to embrace in order to make it to curtain up.
It still astounds me how many punctures, flat batteries and roadworks one has to negotiate on the road to any first night, and how through embracing flexibility, patience, good humour and hard work, solutions are found and the theatre-wagon climbs to the top of the once seemingly Sisyphean hill. Not a miracle, but definitely a marvel : )
We’ve certainly had the to be expected challenges with this production... But from those challenges have come blessings, too, and I regularly find myself experiencing a wave of deep pleasure when I think that there are 27 people working on Queen Lear - all motivated and excited about bringing our creation before an audience, in what is now only a few rehearsals more!
Adrià (KENT), Paloma (LEAR) and Héctor (FOOL) rehearsing The Hovel's Scene