Jonathan Kaufman 19 June 2019
First gathering of the cast for Postcards, and a lot of fun reading the scripts and staging four out of the 10 playlets.
Finding your way with a new script is always exciting – and challenging – as you try to get to grips with the author’s intentions. New writing means these are pieces that aren’t tried and tested, so often there’s lots of discussion about characters’ motivations and ideas for staging: whether to go for naturalism, or melodrama, or high comedy. The actors are all brilliant. Knowing they don’t have to learn the lines and will perform ‘script in hand’ really liberates them, so they can make quick decisions about characterisations and accents etc.
Already, we have our favourite pieces of course, and we’re always trying to guess which playlet the audience will vote their favourite. Often it’s a complete surprise, as collectively audiences see things we’ve missed, and can appreciate a performance on the night that we didn’t quite see in rehearsal.
Then there’s finding bits of costume and odds props – for it doesn’t matter how many times we encourage the writers to keep these to a minimum, we always have to source a few key props, in this instance a chameleon, a stetson, a Panama hat, a casserole dish, an old suitcase etc. Again, the beauty of the ‘scratch night’ is that the audience don’t expect a fully-staged show with scenery and elaborate costuming. Suspension of disbelief, after all, is what theatre is all about!
Anyway, that’s Day 1 over…Day 2 tomorrow, and six more plays to ‘put on their feet’ as we say…