I say it begins, but for most of the backstage staff, it already has – weeks and weeks ago. But all too often in theatre the start of a production is marked by the start of the rehearsal process.
Like the dutiful techies we all are, foregoing our reading week to be here for the show, we trudged our way to the 4th floor of the main LIPA building and into the room which will house rehearsals for Wind in the Willows for the next 4 weeks before we hit the Paul McCartney Auditorium for a week of technical and dress rehearsals to realise the show everyone’s had in their heads since the first week of term.
Today was also the first time I’d had to see the model box, the small, scale model of what will eventually be realised on stage. I know this is a big show, but seeing the model box today really rammed home just how HUGE the whole thing is. The monstrous set takes up the entire PMA stage and a little bit more besides and there is an incredible amount of work for us lowly ASMs to do in keeping the show running with all the appropriate scene changes as the show goes on.
It’s both extraordinarily exciting and not a little bit daunting. I’ve never been an ASM before – I’ve stage managed, I’ve production managed, but so much of the success of the performance itself rests on the ASMs getting their cues right. Because an ASM missing a cue in the middle of a show is likely to cause one of the most obvious slip ups in the theatre. It’s possible to miss lighting and sound cues without people really being aware, but if the setting and props aren’t in the right place when they’re needed, the actors can look like a right bunch of muppets.
Am looking forward to it, though. I think it’s going to be a great show and a fun show to work on. So here’s to four weeks of running around Liverpool like a loony getting everything sorted and a final week of running around LIPA like a loony getting everything sorteder.
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