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

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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

Get booking

Let’s get ready to rumble (again)

We danced tonight. We danced a lot. Really. Until my knickers were sweaty.

It was loads of fun actually. The opening dance is, as you know, choreographed to Let’s Get Ready To Rumble. I shall keep the closing dance music a secret, we have to retain some sense of mystery here after all.

The first dance is tricky – there’s lots of complex footwork and it’s very very fast – by the end we’re all exhausted! I’m just so glad I don’t have to do a scene afterwards!

The final dance is much easier and we really nailed it tonight. We all went home on a high!

Also, we got our posters and flyers tonight! Check it out……!

Don’t forget to book your tickets: www.masktheatre.co.uk

Who’s got the chain?

Today we ran ‘scene 7’ or act 4, scene something as it’s more commonly known. It’s the “you’ve got the chain, no you’ve got the chain” scene.

There’s tons of opportunity for some really cleverly choreographed physical comedy in the scene. Hannah and I had particular fun with the section where a handcuffed Antipholus asks a super confused Dromio to retrieve a key from his pocket. Dromio of course makes a brilliantly huge meal of searching through his ‘master’s’ pocket with plenty of nods and winks.

Please enjoy this photo of Sunday’s rehearsal in lieu of a photo of tonight’s rehearsal.

We also talked a lot about standing like a man. Becca, Hannah, Suzanne, Keira and I are all playing male characters and it takes a lot of concentration to not fall into a feminine stance. I realised I’m relying on lots of pocket acting and crotch thrusting. However it seems to be working so I’ll continue to thrust.

I’ve finally started line learning and it turns out this play is exceptionally hard to learn. It’s very fast and quippy and there’s lots of the words are the opposite way round than what you’d expect to help with the rhyming. This means you absolutely have to get it right, or it’ll be obvious you’ve got it wrong.

Please spend some more time enjoying another photo of Sunday’s rehearsal, in lieu of another photo of tonight’s rehearsal.

We’re having a little break for the bank holiday but we’ll be back in next Wednesday with a dance rehearsal.

Why not book your tickets now?

28 June – Crowland Abbey

29 June – The Waterton Arms, Deeping and

30 June – Moonhenge

3 – 7 July – Central Park, Peterborough.

Check out our website for details and tickets.

www.masktheatre.co.uk

Sunny Sundays and endings

Today’s blog comes from my twin Ryan (it’s hard to believe I know – but please try!)

This sunny Sunday afternoon, our rehearsal focused on the final two scenes of the play. And what an ending! The penultimate scene is the zenith of the (mostly) undeserved humiliation of Antipholus of Ephesus, particularly at the hands of a well meaning Dromio (of the Ephesian variety), a rather put upon jailer and a very zealous doctor. In the final scene see the exasperation of a wife, the revelation of another, much confusion and the wonderful ‘ah-ha’ moment.

Both scenes feature the whole cast, especially towards the end of the play which (thankfully) reveals the “errors” of identity that have taken place over the past 24 hours. Working out how to fit all the cast on stage without blocking the view of the audience or over cramming the stage with an abundance of bodies was a challenge but we think we’ve got it down!

Between the scenes that gather everyone together, this rehearsal gave us a prime opportunity to break into smaller groups and focus on building up the strength and fluidity of our movements.

Hannah and I got to work on exploring how physical the comedy between Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse could become (thanks to Phil for the advice and ideas). I’m really enjoying this process of exploring the relationship between this master and servant, which is much more chummy, witty and supportive, in contrast to the quick-to-violent relationship between the Ephesian duo.

Some of you have been asking about posters and flyers. Well, they are on their way so it won’t be long before you’ll see Peterborough covered with some stylish invitations to the best / most confusing party of the summer.

28 June – Crowland Abbey

29 June – The Waterton Arms, Deeping and

30 June – Moonhenge

3 – 7 July – Central Park, Peterborough.

Check out our website for details and tickets.

www.masktheatre.co.uk

It’s all about space…or time….

A blog from Tim, more commonly known as Balthasar (I was skiving this week due to an unfortunate case of ‘getting older’)

This week’s rehearsals have been intensive, each one highlighting scenes with just three characters.

This has allowed us to work on the relationships between the characters and discover more about their motivations and it has been awesome to watch Shakespeare’s often dense and confusing dialog take shape in the actors’ hands to develop into fully rounded characters on the stage in front.

Questions such as, “How do the sisters actually feel about each other?”, “What does the courtesan expect of Antipholus?” and (apart from the obvious), “why does Antipholus fancy Luciana?” require the cast to challenge their own preconceptions of the characters and how they interact. Even the position of the actors in the space become important in showing these inter-relationships.

The two scenes we worked on changed dramatically through the rehearsals to the point where they transcend the obvious humour of the script to create a moving and engaging story. It is moments like these that make directing such a rewarding experience.

To see the fruits of these labours, come along to Mask Theatre’s production of The Comedy of Errors at the following venues.

28 June – Crowland Abbey

29 June – The Waterton Arms, Deeping and

30 June – Moonhenge

3 – 7 July – Central Park, Peterborough.

Check out our website for details and tickets.

http://www.masktheatre.co.uk

Maybe just poke her in the eye

Super excited! The two sets of twins did some twinny work tonight.

We started with some mirroring exercises to get an idea of each other’s physicality and movement. Ryan and I quickly discovered we already had some similar ideas about stance and it appears we’re both already doing a lot of pocket work. So this is good.

Then we set about staging a section of the scene where my Antipholus gets mega angry and is ultimately is arrested.

We worked out that Ryan’s characters is much more gentle and kind than mine. Where Ryan beats his Dromio with a hat, I just poke mine in the eye.

It was great to finally start some character work and get my teeth round some of the script. It’s already become very obvious that I need to get off book as soon as possible. I need my hands!

Watching the Dromios is a joy, it’s super clown-y and really funny physical humour.

It’s already shaping up right nice.

28 June – Crowland Abbey

29 June – The Waterton Arms, Deeping

30 June – Moonhenge

3 – 7 July – Central Park, Peterborough.

Check out our website for details and tickets. BUY YOURS NOW!

www.masktheatre.co.uk