Rehearsal journal: Brave New World Week 4

Rehearsal journal: Brave New World Week 4

3 September 2015

by Neale Birch

'Repetition, and precision of movement will enable the actors to build their confidence' Associate producer and staff director Neale Birch writes from week four of the rehearsal room. 

This will be our last week of rehearsals in London. One can sense the excitement, but there is still much to do. Four weeks isn’t really as much rehearsal time as we would like, but commercial theatre demands that it is all we can have. 

We continued to rehearse those scenes that need attention and looked at some details in Act Two. We haven’t done a full run through yet, but I imagine that we will soon.

We have spent a lot of time rehearsing the details of character, and the nuances of the text, but when you start running through the whole play you discover many practical details that have to be worked out, such as the placement of props and the timing of scene changes.  Sometimes these are the things that can keep the action of the play moving.

The focus moves a little towards the fight choreography on Tuesday, with fight directors Ruth and Rachel from RC-Annie joining us again. Normally, we would build up sequences out of the context of the scene and then add them in, but in this case, the fight directors work closely in collaboration with Eddie Kay and James Dacre to build up the physical sequences in one. 

Repetition and precision of movement will enable the actors to build their confidence. It was really the first time we had done a run through like this, and it really felt like an accomplishment.  The afternoon was reserved for working moments from the morning’s run that needed polishing or revisiting.

The cast did another full run again today and more notes and polishing in the afternoon.  It’s a great feeling for everyone that the show has reached a place that it’s ready for daily run-throughs.  It’s great watching the cast chart their characters’ journey through the piece.

It certainly felt like the play had reached a boiling point this afternoon.  Again, the commitment and tirelessness of the cast is hugely impressive.  Today we did two run-throughs, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

It is our last rehearsal before going up to Northampton for tech week. We only worked a half day today: one run-through in the morning.  By the end, it was clear that the cast was ready to leave the rehearsal hall and get into a theatre. I for one can’t wait to see it on stage, under lights.  Time to go home and pack for the road!

Brave New World premieres at Royal and Derngate, Northampton, where it runs from 4 to 26 September 2015. It then tours to Edinburgh, Blackpool, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Bradford where it concludes on 5 December.