Are ye fantastical, or that indeed which outwardly ye show?

Books down for Tales from the Porter’s Lodge and excitement and tension are in the air.

 

This week we had transitions, which is probably the most frustrating rehearsal in any play as it involves just the beginning and end of scenes and very direct directing. “You stand there, you walk that way, you cross the stage in this direction, you leave by this exit”….etc; very bitty and nothing to really get your acting teeth into. Still, it did give me a chance to do all of The Porter Interludes for the first time.

We have also had all of the sound cues this week (though not always as dramatic as they will be on a full PA rather than on laptop speakers) and they are adding proper tension and atmosphere to the three plays, while not distracting (hopefully) from the fabulous performances that the actors are working up to. As an unrepentant “techie” the sight of a fully programmed sound cue system fills me with disproportionate delight!

In other news, the set has been painted and looks brilliant, we are sorting lights and the PT has asked for some cast shots for the press release.

So, onward and upward and let’s bring this wood to Dunsinane!

Get your tickets early for Tales from the Porter’s Lodge at The Peterborough Theatre Function Suite (formerly The Broadway Suite) – October 31st to November 2nd, 2018.

Available through the website or on the door.

 

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The spaces between the words

It’s not just the words, it’s the spaces between the words.

As the rehearsals for Tales from the Porter’s Lodge continue apace there is a real buzz building. The cast are now finding the people behind their characters and new nuances are appearing with each run through – we are digging deep for the emotional aspects that bring the stories to life for the audience and the tension within the tales is beginning to shine through.

Highlights this week (for me, at least) have been Matt and Tonia working through the emptions of bereavement, Kiera and Karl choreographing a tense dance around the stage, Rich and Sam enacting Romeo and Juiet and, especially, “Dead Millie”.

This week we have been working a lot on space: the space between the lines that leave us wondering what the actors are thinking, the physical space between characters on stage to highlight relationships (or their lack) and the space between the audience and the play (which may not remain a constant during the performance).

Even with scripts still firmly clenched in hands for some of the scenes, there are moments of tenderness, humour, goose-bump inducing tension and spine-chilling horror.

Get your tickets early for Tales from the Porter’s Lodge at The Peterborough Theatre Function Suite (formerly The Broadway Suite) – October 31st to November 2nd, 2018.

Available through the website or on the door

A director down – Edith in the Dark

Unfortunately, this week we were down a director due to illness, but we intrepid three soldiered on…mostly.

We quickly learned that blocking scenes without an outside input is awkward at best as actors suffer from an abundance of creativity; we all had different ideas about how a scene should flow and look.

Instead, we focused on what we knew and had done before; the opening scene is really coming together and dare I say it, I may even know my lines!

We had a play with one of the stories as we will be performing this in due time as part of some cheeky marketing.

I love the little breaks that the tales within the play give; they are often funny with a dash of slapstick in some places, but make no mistake, they are just a ghoulish as the rest of the play!

Get well soon Helen, and congratulations on being the PT Hero!!

Edith in the Dark begins

Alex Tyler tells us about the first Edith rehearsal

Let it be known, I love the Undercroft in Hampton; It is a cracking space and I’m glad Mask is finally making use of it for Edith in The Dark.

Right, mini-gush done. Everyone always says first rehearsals go well, I have been guilty of it in the past, but I actually mean it this time.

We only got through the first seven pages, but we are already mucking around with movement and basic blocking. Plus, Emma threw a book at me…with little prompting and no hesitation…

The script is wickedly dark and just as funny, and that’s only the first few pages of the first act! I wish I could see it, you lucky devil’s you!

Something wicked this way comes

Rehearsals for Tales From The Porter’s Lodge have begun in earnest and I’m already starting to get goosebumps.

As always, getting the cast together and moving about raises new ideas and possibilities for setting and characterisation. Some of the ideas are……challenging; I’m not sure that we can actually make actors disappear and reappear elsewhere without major rearrangements to the architecture of the Broadway Suite.

Elsewhere, Matt, Tonia and Kiera are already showing signs of being a wonderful family together – relationships between characters is one of the things Mask does really well – and Matt C has begun to bring back the characters in Henry Gladstone.

This is looking to be a terrific Haloween treat, so book tickets early for Tales From The Porter’s Lodge at The Broadway Suite; October 31st to November 2nd 2018.

Buy tickets now or on the door

The night before…

It was our final rehearsal tonight. The farce is farcical, the jokes are jovial, the mugging is muggy. I think we’re ready!

We had so much fun tonight (which is either worrying or great), there was some giggling on stage and plenty from the audience (director and prompt), which was a great sign!

I think a couple of things clicked for a few of us tonight. Ryan and I had a conversation with Phil about status and stillness, and we both tried to root ourselves a bit more tonight, which really felt like it worked.

The dances both seem to have come together as well, which feels fabulous. It’s so fun when we all get it right! For a company of non dancers we all feel very proud!

So, tomorrow we open at Crowland Abbey, then onto The Waterton Arms in Deeping on Friday and Moonhenge on Saturday.

Then next Tuesday we start in the park.

Here’s how this makes me and my twin feel

We hope you can come along and see us! Tickets are still available from http://www.masktheatre.co.uk

With scenery

Today we rehearsed with the door for the first time ever! There’s one scene where my Antipholus is locked out of his house and a bunch of hilarity ensues when (not his) Dromio teases him from inside his own house.

We have created an ultra special door through which we can have plenty of slapstick antics. We’ve been miming it for a while so it was amazing to have the actual thing, and it was great to see the scene come together. The physical comedy in this show is so important and it feels now like we’re finally hitting the mark!

We also ran the last two scenes, including the final revelation and the dance. It was great, felt super energetic and really good fun.

We open a week tomorrow (eeek!) at Crowland abbey and it feels like we’re really ready now.

We have a run on Sunday and then three more rehearsals next week. Good to get into dress and really get the pace up.

It’s an exciting but nervy time. We’re all keen and raring to go! But are you? Got your tickets yet?!

http://www.masktheatre.co.uk

From start to finish

Tonight we did a full run! Ooooh! And actually it went pretty well, considering it was the first time we went from the beginning all the way to the end.

There’s definitely still work to be done; some line insecurities and such, but on the whole it’s looking pretty snappy. We even ran the first dance without too much incident!

I know I’ve still got some character work to do. I’m definitely not playing enough of a prat. My Antipholus is a real show-off. A womaniser and a prat. I need to find some inspiration. Either I’ve got to start watching Love Island or I need to head down to Edwards of a Saturday night.

It’s a toughie, this play. There is lots of speaking. It does get confusing. The mistaken identities are all the same but they happen so many times it’s hard to keep track, even when you’re in it. We have to think. A lot. And I wonder how much of that thinking is still showing through.

However, it does feel like we’re in a good place. The music is fun, the scenes are fast paced (on the whole) and the characters are starting to come through really well now.

We open next Wednesday (unbelievably) – have you got your tickets yet?!

Once again this you can cheat the weather – book your ticket for any night (except Crowland) and then choose your show!

www.masktheatre.co.uk

Time waits for no man

This evening’s blog comes from our renowned Abbess, Emma, who observes, very eloquently, just how much left we have to learn. We had some photos of our rehearsal yesterday, but they’re in the process of being WeTransferred, so you’ll just have to look out for those later.

Time waits for no man, and it certainly doesn’t wait for him (or her) to learn their lines!

The period after the dreaded “books down” is painful for both actor and director alike, as, several weeks through rehearsals, we’ve mainly blocked the show, and we’re now getting physical, moving more, putting feeling into lines, and developing its characters — and for this play, especially its humour, be it linguistic or slapstick. And it’s really hard to get physicality and movement into the play when everyone has their nose in their book (very much like talking to someone who is looking at their phone really), so once the “books down” clarion has happened, it all starts getting interesting.

Unfortunately, it also starts getting REALLY frustrating. Because you can sit in your living room, possibly with a friend, and you can recite those lines absolutely word perfect, feeling – let’s face it – pretty smug with yourself because you have nailed that really long speech, and you even (think) you know who you’re saying it to. But the moment, the very moment, you stand up on stage, even if it isn’t the real stage and just the room you’re rehearsing in, those words fly out of your brain. Someone (more likely than not, the person you weren’t expecting) says a line, and you think “well, I know I’m telling you to go away and leave me alone, but I can’t remember EXACTLY what my words were”. Pretty much everyone had a moment tonight where they ended their speech with “Or words to that effect”.

Today we ran the final scenes, in which it supposedly all comes together… but the prompt (and tonight the stage manager was standing in for the prompt who was poorly) had considerably more lines than anyone else. And partly because we didn’t have the actual prompt, we also had a distracting chorus of voices chime in with the evasive word or line, which would give it a distinctly more Greek tragedy feel, if only we could get them in unison… Some of us might have thought it WAS a Greek Tragedy by the end. Also, we were down a couple of actors, so at one point, the stage manager/prompt was also playing a Twin Antipholus… and various long speeches were interspersed with even more confused and baffled looks, at exactly which twin they were addressing that remark to.

Time is upon us now… we have just over 2 more weeks for the polish… can we pull this rabbit out of the hat? CAN WE DO THE IMPOSSIBLE? You’ll have to be the judge of that! Get your tickets at www.masktheatre.co.uk

This year, to help you contend with the British Summer that will surely descend at any moment, we’ve got an online ticket that you can use any day you want, exactly the same price as buying on the door. (Only excepting Crowland Abbey, which gets a big audience in a small space, so please specifiy if you’re going that night.) Other than, you can buy your ticket now, and turn up any night you choose. See you there!

Books down!

It was my first rehearsal off book today. What a laugh. I mean I do know my lines, I promise. What I apparently don’t know, is my cues. So that made for a really slow scene!

On a positive note I did work some fun stuff out tonight about my character in his first scene. It’s amazing what you can discover when you put the book down and you’ve got two hands to play with.

I do really enjoy the freedom of not having to hold the script. It’s wonderful to be able to look out and not down, even if I am looking lost because I’ve forgotten my cue again.

By the end of next week we’ll be ready to start running it all together. This is a really exciting concept. Transitions are such an important part of keeping the piece alive and moving. There really is nothing worse than a scene ending and everyone drifting off, and then the next scene taking minutes to get on. I love a snappy transition. I’m so excited about getting them sorted for this play.

Then we just need to get the dancing down, another part of this play that I’m really enjoying and we’ll be good to go!

Tickets at www.masktheatre.co.uk

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