Inside Regeneration Rehearsals: Week Four

Inside Regeneration Rehearsals: Week Four

Thursday, 28 August 2014

As rehearsals for Regeneration enter the final week, Associate Producer Neale Birch teases what to expect with some final creative choices from Director Simon Godwin.

Entering the final week of rehearsals reminds us all that we are working in the commercial sector. How lovely it would be to know that we were able to spend longer exploring the text and developing character relationships and trying different ways of presenting the piece before having to make decisions. In a fully subsidised theatre company, such as the RSC or the National Theatre, companies can enjoy much more time to rehearse. However, four weeks is our limit before we go into the theatre and all of the creative team and the acting company are focused on the challenge. 

Building on the very good work achieved so far, Director Simon Godwin has been able to see scenes played through and to run sections of the play together. Much of his work this week has been on the transitions, the movement and flow of one scene into another. It is very important that the attention of the audience is maintained and also to sustain the rhythm of the play. A long scene change could ruin that and damage the overall effect of the production. Simon is keen to dovetail scenes, to run one scene into another, even when the transition involves a change of location or a time lapse. All of the cast are involved in the transitions at different times, moving furniture and opening and closing doors, and this gives the piece a wonderful sense of ensemble. It is great to see the actors supporting each other's scenes in this way. 

Simon invited the creative team to attend more of the rehearsals to see scenes being played through, so as to get a better feel for the tone and colour of the scenes. In one corner of the room, Stuart and George discuss the way the music and sound effects will combine in a stylised moment. In another corner, Simon and Alex discuss the exact length of a piece of furniture and the implications for the staging. 

Lee gets a sense of a transition and considers the way his lighting can add impact. There is a terrific sense of creativity in the room as these talented individuals collectively prepare and plot the various elements that will support the work of the director and acting company. Even Nicholas Wright, the Adaptor of the play, is involved to alter a line or two, and also to consider a slightly different ending to the first half. 

Working on a new play is particularly exciting because one is involved in the process to a greater extent. With a skilled and experienced company, and a generous and talented writer, the play can be honed and sharpened.

Meanwhile, the technical elements of the production are coming together. The set has been built at the Royal & Derngate workshop. Paul Beasely, head of construction, and his team have followed the designs and the plans provided by Alex Eales and, under the direction of David Ferrier, Production Manager, built the set, the floor and the other physical elements. On Thursday they were delivered to the stage at The Royal Theatre. The crew began erecting the set on Friday, alongside the Electricians, who were rigging the lights. It is exciting to see the physical production up in its feet.

Work begins on building the set



Back in the rehearsal room, towards the end of the last week of rehearsals, the company bring together all of their work in a run of the play. First, each act is run separately, followed by Simon's notes and a chance to rework sections. And then the first full run through. The last chance to see the piece in the rehearsal room without the technical elements and before putting onto the set.

Regeneration opens at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it runs from 29 August to 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November.


Regeneration premiered on 2 September 2014 (previews from 29 August) at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it continues until 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November.