The end 

And so we’re done. We’ve taken our final bow. We finished at Moonhenge last night and I think I can honestly say I’ve never been so wet in my whole entire life. It just rained. Constantly. 

We soldiered on though and some of us even camped afterwards. I don’t want to bang on about the amazing show (although it was) or get all mushy about the cast (even though they are lovely) so instead I’m going to share some pictures of the run and then bid you farewell til next time.

Ah the park. Where it all began. When bushes and trees suddenly made sense. And I walked through the sunken garden every night drenched in blood carrying a knife.

Oh this is my favourite picture of the whole play! I’m gonna get this blown up and framed. Look at it! Everything about it is just perfect!

The day the blood backfired in our wet weather venue. Apparently the look on my face when it hit me was a big giveaway that something hadn’t gone to plan! 

The new tour venue, The Waterton Arms in Deeping. What an amazing show that was, and such a good audience. We’ll defitnely be returning.

Same venue. Different hair. The day Banquo channeled Elvis. Amazing. Just amazing. 

This was TDA, another new venue for us. I love this shot – just look at Tom’s fighting face…

And then last night. At the beautiful but very soggy Moonhenge. There’s our tents. Dripping.

What a show, what a fortnight. Thanks to everyone. Onstage. Backstage. Front of house. Audience. Everyone. You made it what it was. And it was pretty bloody brilliant.

Macbelfies, Macblues and Macresting

Our run in the park is done. But, unusually, this year, we are going on tour second, so we still have four more shows to go! 

This morning we packed up the park, including Birnam wood…

With only small hangovers and lots of hands it was fairly light work! And now we rest for a few days. The group chat is full of Macpuns and a few mid-run pause blues. Everyone agrees it’s weird to not be performing tonight but I think we’re also all glad for a little break.

I’m happy to announce that, after to a stroke of word-pun genius, I’ve invented the Macbelfie. And have been running around backstage and FOH papping cast and crew on my front facing camera. 

All the fun.

We had a cracker of a final show last night. Everyone was on form and really enjoyed it! There was so much blood though. Having run out of Jill’s homemade batch we opted for shop bought fake blood. Which stains. Apparently. My hands are still red, Phil’s got most of it off his face but his hair is pink and I have a lovely little red go-faster stripe in mine! 

So, a few days to recover and then we’re back. Thanks to all our audiences so far and if you haven’t seen us already – get booking! 

The show must go on…with a few soggy bottoms

I’m very happy to announce that Ryan Blackburn is today’s guest blogger. Back by popular demand! 

So last night felt like a bit of a close shave. The hour before ‘curtain up’ (metaphorical, of course, as curtains are notoriously difficult to hang off trees and bushes), the weather had turned against us with a light drizzle becoming a heavy shower. Thankfully the rain ceased moments before our dramatic opening, and held off for the rest of the performance. 

We may have lost a few possible audience members who chose not to see ‘the Scottish play’ in Scottish imitation weather, but we had a good audience who seemed to engage well. 
Moments before getting into starting positions, the majority of the cast huddled together in the dressing room tents. This created a really strong sense of a ‘team’ ready for the start, which may have helped give us a good strong pace throughout the night.

This team huddling (yes, it’s now a verb) was mirrored by the post performance rush to get changed out of costumes and clear up everything, during which a friendly competition sparked up between the Lords and Ladies tents to see who could drown out the other with some classic sing alongs. I’m biased but I think the Lords may have had the advantage with our rendition of the theme from Dad’s Army (a tune that is always running though my mind when carrying my part of Birnam wood to ‘High Dunsinane’).

And last night was a triumph for one of our props (yes, you did read that right), when an audience member gave an audible gasp /squeal at one of the final props where we see the fate of a certain ambitious Thane. And no…it’s not the worthy of Thane of Ross – he’s a good egg, or so I’ve heard, if a little verbose in his descriptions. 
One final memory from last night was the look on my fellow Thanes’, Lords’ and Ladies’ faces during the banquet scene when we realised our seats had been outside during the pre-show soaking, and had absorbed a fair amount of water. As we sat and became disturbed by our deranged King, we were all fighting the urge to cry out in a suitably dramatic fashion: ‘my lord would you excuse me, I appear to have a soggy bottom’. Don’t worry, we didn’t (not sure our Director would let us live to see the next performance if we did) but we shared our complaint with each other once off stage.
The weather forecasts (note the plural as we check multiple sources) are not predicting rain tonight, so make sure you spend your Friday night in the most appropriate way…outdoors, seeing murder and madness most foul.

Rain does not stop play 

That’s a timely Wimbledon joke there. Because I can do current affairs as well you see. Aha. 

On Monday we dress rehearsed in front a small audience, which was slow and scary. 

Then last night we opened the show, indoors! Ah rain. That ever British warning  that summer (not Lady M Summer, summer as in not-spring) is here. So just as we’d got used to the park it was all change! But it’s great practise for the tour so we don’t really mind. 

And actually it went really well. So you know that’s good! Especially after the dress where two of our cast hit the floor with their faces. 

My crowning moment last night was bursting the blood bag the wrong way. 

That stuff drips.

The word for the day is Gackle (definition – what a witch does when she’s excited – Giggle-Cackle).

And the photo of the week goes to Ryan and Carl (and Tom the photographer): 

Thanks to Thomas Byron photography for these great shots and all the rest we’ll be using over the next few weeks.

We’ll be back in the park tonight (fingers crossed for sunshine) until Saturday and then tour next week.

Don’t miss us!

I had a brilliant title but I’ve forgotten it….Macbeth 

We rehearsed at Cat’s farm today. It’s always a great opportunity to get ready to perform in unfamiliar spaces. And, of course, it’s always completely wonderful to be hosted by the magnificent Mylands.

And boy was it hot! We all melted a little into our woollen costumes, cue some very heavy tunics! But a great practice for the upcoming week, which I’m led to believe is going to be sticky! 

Rehearsal went well. The witches feel really good now. We’ve really gelled and it’s so great to go out there and just play!

I know that we’re all really looking forward to getting in front of an audience. 

Have you got your tickets yet? 

The penultimate, penultimate 

Tonight we had a bash at the final run through before the penultimate dress rehearsal! 

It went really well. There’s some lines we need to brush up on and some fights that need a *bit* of polishing. But man are we proud!

Macbeth is a real epic. I mean, I don’t think I’d ever appreciated just how massive it is. And when you see nine men marching onto stage, swords in holsters, it really starts to hit home. We’ve done a bloody good job.

Tonight we had to rehearse Banquo’s gory locks again. We’ve found a blood-pack solution and all got duly covered in the stuff. It wet well apart from Phil muttering ‘Just smash it on my fucking head’ at me on stage as I battled to burst the thing! 

Jonny and I decided yoga in our offstage time was long overdue tonight and so we had a bit of downward dog time (not as bad as it sounds)

And then Jonny did this:


Then we did some gurning. Because, to be honest, there hasn’t been enough face-pulling in this show. I think I make it 5 chins on my face in this photo: 

And summer and I seem to be mirroring in this one!

To be honest that’s all I’ve got for tonight. We went to the pub post rehearsal and now I feel a bit: 

Off to bed.

We perform next week, so really you should be on this by now. But just in case, deets: 

Fake blood, fights and pretty chickens 

We’re only a week away now! Yesterday we did a full dress run in the sun. 

And today we concentrated on fights and sound cues. 

We also had to organise Banquo’s gory locks and spent quite a bit of time covering ourselves in sticky, sugary fake blood. 

Which attracted the flies.

We’re all so excited now. Only a week away and it’s really starting to gel. We ran through the last bit of Act 5 tonight which really is my favourite bit of the play I think. Macbeth’s downfall is just so heartwrenching and Carl does such a stellar job of it. 

We’re also really settling into our witches. Each one of us has a personality and our inhibitions are gone so we can really enjoy the madness. As you know I’m not allowed to show you photos of the witches so have a banquet pic instead: 

We did some great fight work tonight. It’s so great to see everyone really embracing the choreography and enjoying it, I’m so proud. 

I’m aware this blog claims to be about pretty chickens. But it’s not. So there you go.


The ingredients of our second half 

Tonight we Second Halfed. All the way through. It was pretty impressive! Emma, our director, even said that she had been pretty depressed about lines on Monday but that today she was far happier. (This is high praise from our leader.)

She also talked a lot about us pulling something out of a bag…. 

We encountered cauldron-gate tonight. We had to ask ourselves is a metaphorical cauldron enough? Emma thought maybe we should have a real one. But others thought not. How does it end? I genuinely don’t know. No, really, I don’t. I guess I’ll find out on Sunday.

We had to practise some swordplay again tonight. young Siward’s death (nearly an emergency when Harvey forgot to breathe) and Macbeth v Macduff (DING DING). Both these scenes are looking great. We only have the masterful Tom Jordan to thank for this. 

We’re basically all fully costumed now so Sunday will be a giggle trying to work out quick changes and seeing what we all look like together. We’re also getting the metal broadswords…ooooooh! Exciting!

I must just leave you with photo of the evening. This is Harvey in full swing:

And so goodnight. Deets as ever:

A tree, a tree, I’m stuck in a tree!

Unfortunately I failed to get a picture but my favourite moment of this evening came when Paolo accidentally got his banner stuck in the branches of a tree. He definitely found the funny side too. I think.

We did a first half run again tonight. It was a good’un. It’s really starting to gel together now. 

Jonny did some dance….

We’re still not quite sure why or how he fitted this into a Macbeth rehearsal.

Tim did some pointing:

He’s very good at it. 

Luke and Phil spent a lot of time examining the floor:

Nobody move! I dropped my contact lens….

Carl did some good moodying:

And like, I mean really good. He is a properly excellent Macbeth. Really.

Ryan got all emotional: 

“I’d like to thank my Mom..”

And these guys stood in a semi-circle: 

Some really good strong, half-circling work there. There ain’t no parallelograms in this play!

I’ve got some cracking witch photos but I’ve been banned from sharing them for reasons that will become obvious when you come and see the play. You’ll note I said when then, not if. That’s because you are coming.

I’m aware this is a cop out picture blog but I also know you’re all tired of me prattling on. So I’m going now:

Deets as evs:

Is that an aubergine I see before me?

I should probably explain. We were talking about prompts in the pub post rehearsal. To or not to have (wrong play I know) during the show. Peter suggested that maybe we could use a different word than ‘line’ to indicate that we needed a prompt, such as ‘yes’, which he has used before, to draw less attention to it. Then Tom suggested we could use ‘aubergine’ which was just silly. But I’m putting it in here because it’s his birthday and he might have a strop if he doesn’t get a mention!

Oh, it’s me, by the way. I’m back! 

Many thanks to Ryan for standing in last week. Do you like my murderer costume? The jeans really set it off I think. 

Anyways. A staggered costume run of the first half was the order of today. It’s always interesting when costumes come into the mix. Sometimes, especially when you’re multi-roling or have lots of costume changes, you forget who you are. Sometimes you just spend your time being well jealous of other people’s gorgeous dresses. I’m looking at you Lady M.

Sometimes you accidentally put on a bit of foliage instead of a costume.

Sometimes if you’re Dave, you realise that it’s imperative you keep wearing your own clothes or you’d literally only be wearing a belt and some rather fabulous purple shoes. 

Sometimes, if you’re Hannah you land something beautifully outrageous to wear. She’s impressed. You can see that.

From now on, lines are key. And fights are important. We have to keep practising the fights. And we have to learn our lines. It’s that simple really. Although I must say, I did think our murderer scene looked pretty damn good today!

Well, hasn’t this been fun?! There’ll be more tomorrow I expect.