Postcards – Day 3 and 4

Jonathan Kaufman 22 June 2019

Day 3 – Barking

Friday, and we’re at the Broadway Theatre Barking for the tech rehearsal of Postcards.

This means our first chance to get into the ‘space’ and get used to the size of the stage (it’s four times larger than Sydenham Centre’s) and the acoustics. It’s a 300-seater, so you need to be loud to be heard!

The cast are excited, as always, to get into the performance venue, whereas I’m focused on getting through 10 playlets in four and a half hours; never a simple prospect. We’re also working with the Broadway Theatre’s tech team, which means things take a lot longer than usual (I run my own lighting and sound at Sydenham Centre.) But after a slow, sticky start – we abandon using radio mics as they keep playing up – we get through all ten playlets, working through their lighting and sound cues and ‘prop business’ and we’re ready…

First performance – always a nervy experience, but it goes well on the whole, with only a few technical glitches to mar the performances, which are brilliant. The audience is delighted, the writers of the pieces particularly thrilled to see their work brought to life. And the voting is fairly smooth…Claire Buckle’s play The Turning Tide coming out tops, with Cycling by Andrew Platman the runner up and Posh by Jas Knight in third place.

Perhaps not surprisingly, two of out of these top three playlets are written by writers from north of the river. Can South London do any better when we’re in Sydenham the next day? Only time will tell…

Day 4 – Sydenham

Back Upstairs at the Sydenham Centre is like coming home, and having already performed the show once the tech rehearsal here is a dream. I’m back in my comfort zone on the lighting and sound desk, and we get through the playlets in two hours – topping and tailing most of them (not running the whole play, but skipping from technical moment to moment to save time).

By 7.30pm a very large audience has gathered…

It’s another brilliant show, with many in the crowd telling me how much the standard of the writing keeps improving with each scratch night that we do. And this time, South London does indeed come out on top, with all three top placed plays written by writers from my own ScriptHub writing class: 3rd place is Fran Burke’s Postcards from the Island, 2nd place is (again) Andrew Platman with Cycling, with very worthy winner Darren Bird’s play Papa romping home with 39 votes. Darren is absolutely thrilled, telling me our staging of his play is exactly as he imagined in his head. We’re elated, shattered, and relieved that it’s gone so well. So that was Postcards, another triumphant scratch night for Spontaneous Productions, and already Lucy and I are planning the next one!

If you’d like to sign up for one of my scriptwriting classes, with the chance to see your work performed on stage, see details here, as we’ll be updating the September schedule very shortly.