Our little sapling of a show opened last night, having been hothoused with loving care by Tess and the rest of the team. Tess’ notes have the deftness of a paring knife – clean, sharp and creative. I couldn’t have asked for a better director, particularly in the way she has worked with the three younger members of the cast – all of whom make their professional debut with this. Their enthusiam and concentration is astounding – three very promising performers. Hats off to Christina, Josie and Andrew!
Yesterday morning was spent on what us thesps call the ‘tech’. The team had already dressed the space with a delightfully varied array of shoes suspended over the stage, evoking the motif of the book. Then after configuring the lighting states the operators set their cues, along with sound and music, to add the layers essential to a transporting piece of theatre. In a full production this process would take at least a day but, as we had hours, we kept to reasonable requirements. Jim Kitson’s musical skills have opened my ears to the unsuspected capacity of the amplified ukelele – which he plays to create an enchantedly haunting underscore – atmospherically perfect.
Three days rehearsal, even for a script in hand performance, is an incredibly short amount of time to achieve all one would like, but from the responses we got post-play I think there were glorious glimpses into what the piece has to offer potentially as a full production. I know I already have thoughts about what I’d expand were I given that task, which characters I’d augment, how certain themes could better play out, even how I’d update it. But that’s for the future.
For now I’m hoping that audiences will enjoy this first theatrical foray into Julia’s story with its strong characters and richly recognisable setting.