Well, we are now about to move into Stantonbury Theatre this weekend.
It’s the 'Get-in' for 'Our Town' by Thornton Wilder.
I always love get-ins. It’s the time where the set is built (if there is one) where furniture and props are brought in and set in the right place, where the lighting is rigged and focussed and where the costumes are also brought in, labelled and put on rails in the dressing rooms ready for the cast.
It’s a time of intensive hard work as things are painted, hung up, placed etc. I love it because it’s a time of great camaraderie and team work. I love it because everyone is working together to create the world of the play. As the day moves on it is exciting to see everything come together.
As a director I always have a vision of how the final piece might look and sound, but from the beginning of sharing what might be just an embryonic vision, the creative team have added to it, built on it and developed it. They have realised it from what may have been a very sketchy outline from me. They have all read the play and paid attention to every detail and this is reflected in their work. It doesn’t just happen! It’s meant everyone meeting regularly for production meetings and discussing every detail. It’s carefully planned from the start. The first discussions happen often before the play is even cast. Then when everything is in place we have the Technical run. This means all the technical cues - lighting, sound, music etc. are worked through carefully.
Many actors (and some directors) don’t like techs as they don’t get to do a full run, but we move from each technical cue to the next, but it is the only rehearsal the technical team get and it has to be right.
I love techs. I love to see how the lighting works with the set and costumes. I love to hear how all the sound effects and music transport us to a different world. Having worked in radio I’m really keen on making sure sound effects fade at the right time and are often just eased out. Beautiful! I also like to make sure the right music is played as the audience come in, go out and during the interval.
This time I’m an actor too, so running a tech and then stepping on stage means I’m wearing several hats which is quite a challenge! Once the tech is over I can hand over to the stage managers and they run the dress rehearsal. The director then fades into the background.
Unlike the conductor of an orchestra who is of course highly visible during a concert and indeed “conducts” the proceedings, the theatre director’s work is done. She/he will sit unobtrusively at the back of the theatre and watch. They can do nothing if anything goes wrong!
The director will of course give notes the next night before the show goes up, but that’s it. The actors and team work together and the stage manager or managers rule. Their word is law! The stage managers make sure the show runs smoothly.
I always breathe a sigh of relief when a show gets to this stage. If I’m not in it I can sit and watch and feel proud. It is a wonderful feeling to see the play come to life. Being in it as well has another feeling too and that’s all the excitement, nerves and exhilaration of live theatre backstage.
There’s nothing like it!
Tickets on sale now £15 & £13 (concessions).
Stantonbury Theatre 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th November 7.30pm.
Matinee Saturday 4th November 2.30pm.
or call the Box Office: 01908 324466.
Don’t miss it!
Director and Producer