Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde rehearsal blog
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde rehearsal blog
5 February 2018
'It’s always so fun to hear the words out loud and in character, it really brings everything to life.' Grace Hogg-Robinson, who plays Annie, blogs on the first week of rehearsals of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
The first day of rehearsals is a bit like the first day of school, well, minus the crying and the holding your Mum’s hand! People always seem to turn up one by one looking nervous and apologetically asking if they’re in the right place, whilst knocking back a morning coffee. The lovely Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde company were no exception as a host of excited cast and crew steadily joined the room. Tentative waves and exchanging of names proceeded, with people making the first steps at getting to know each other. After all, we’re going to be a company until mid-May!
Once everyone's names were established, everyone excitedly gathered around for the big reveal of the model box, which is a miniature version of the set for the show. A bit like a tiny dolls house, but a thousand times better. The Designer for the show, Simon Higlett, talked through each aspect of the set to delighted “oohs” and “aahs” from his captive audience. The choice to keep the set almost entirely black feels so original and also wonderfully mysterious, and really suits both David Edgar’s adaptation and Robert Louis Stevenson’s original text.
Following this, we did a first read-through of the script. It’s always so fun to hear the words out loud and in character, it really brings everything to life. Suddenly hearing a whole host of different voices and accents really transports you into the world of the play. I think read-throughs make everyone nervous, although truly I can only speak for myself: you see your line/s approaching and then it’s your turn to open your mouth and it never comes out quite how you meant… Ah well, it was a nice reminder for me that my accent needs some serious refinement!
After this, we collected in small groups to discuss the themes of the play, of which there are many! I don’t want to spoil anything for those unfamiliar with the story, but it was fascinating to hear everyone’s opinions. Then we did a bit of team-building by playing various ball games, which as ever reveals how competitive people are, as well as how co-ordinated. It has become a daily challenge to beat previous scores of “keepy-uppy”, with people diving halfway across the room in order to try and continue the game, and loud cries of frustration when the ball drops.
The next couple of days were spent sitting around a table with David Edgar, the Adapter and Kate Saxon, the Director, and the cast and stage management team talking through every aspect of the play. Things like “Why does he say that there?” ; “Well, hang on a minute, where’s the back door?” ; “When were indoor toilets commonly in use?” ; crop up with impassioned discussions following each question, as people explain to each other the ideas they’ve had for that specific thing, or people debate the logistics of various factors within the world of the play. In addition to this, we were each given an area to research, somehow I ended up with prostitution, while others got given things like religion, medicine or gothic horror. Each member of the company was tasked to research their topic for a short presentation, to be given to the rest of the company, by way of conducting detailed research and sharing it with everyone.
Towards the end of the week, we started tentatively putting the first scenes on their feet. This tends to be more logistical than solely acting based. Each scene is ‘blocked’, which informs people where they enter and exit, where they stand within the set (which is marked out on the floor using coloured tape) and where various props can appear from throughout the scene. There is a lot of chopping and changing as problems are encountered, but it’s exciting to start getting an idea of how things will really play out…
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde opens at Rose Theatre, Kingston, where it plays from 9 to 17 February 2018. It then tours to Aberdeen, Malvern, Dartford, Nottingham, Blackpool, Wycombe, Edinburgh, Bradford, Wolverhampton, Cambridge and Darlington.