Rehearsal Diary: Of Mice and Men Week 1

Rehearsal Diary: Of Mice and Men Week 1

15 January 2016

by Samantha Hopkins

'It’s always so exciting to hear the play for the first time' Assistant Stage Manager and understudy Samantha Hopkins writes from the first week of the rehearsal room. 

The week began with a fantastic read through of the play. It’s always so exciting to hear the play for the first time and it immediately began to spring to life with all the actors’ different voices. There was also a viewing of the model box so that everyone could see what the set will look like and how everything will work. As this play has been previously produced at Birmingham Rep, the set and props are already in place and some members of the team have worked on the show before, whereas others are new to it.

Liz Ascroft's model of how the set will look

Designer Liz Ascroft's model box shows what the set will look like 


This has been a week of exploration and research. The director, Roxana Silbert and associate director, Nick Pitt have been working with the actors discussing the time period, setting and characters. It was really interesting to hear what life was like on these ranches in California in the 1930s. The actors did some character exercises, which really illustrated their individuality and sparked in depth discussions about how they all relate to each other in the play.

Associate Director Nick Pitt presented research on the setting of the playSome of the research and inspirations from the time period and setting the play is set


The actors have also had sessions on music and accent work. They worked with the composer & sound designer, Nick Powell to create soundscapes that will be performed live during the show and they learnt the classic Wood Guthrie song “This Land was made for you and me”.

 

Lots of the actors have done American accents before but the accent coach, Charmain Hoare helped them with the specific requirements for the time period and place. Some of the characters are from different areas of America so there are different accents being used in the play.

The stage management team have been unpacking props and learning how all the staging worked in the previous incarnation of the show. A great deal of work has been done to create historical accuracy. Props such as magazines, match boxes and cans of beans have all been made and really give a sense of the time period.

There have also been technical discussions to decide how things will work on tour. The aim is to keep the show as consistent as possible so it’s vital to take the different theatre spaces into consideration early on.

Everything is coming along really quickly as already, there are only two weeks until the first performance!

Of Mice and Men premieres at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where it runs from 4 to 13 February 2016. It then tours to Cheltenham, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Darlington, Blackpool, Cambridge, Brighton, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Oxford and Leicester where it concludes on 28 May.