First though, a bit about the day. All very bizarre. We arrived in Northampton the night before to find the hotel was hosting a Star Trek convention, and Klingons and Star Fleet officers were
relative merits of one another's civilisations, whilst entirely ignoring any
passersby possessed of breasts, pulses or, indeed, lives. That, added to the
double Christmas tree in the foyer (at the start of October), made it a bit of
an odd evening - but a fun one.
Anyway, next day we set up and had our technical run through in our allotted hour, we managed a couple of goes, had some last-minute changes (which freaked me out a bit, I'll admit, without a
chance to practice them live at all), and then settled down for a long day's waiting and worrying.
Eventually our turn came and after standing motionless in our starting tableau for what seemed like ages (probably a good five minutes), while the TV crews got into place, we were off!
I actually remember very little of the following eight minutes or so, it was all very much a blur, but eventually after waiting for the final group to perform and then the judges to deliberate, we stood on stage for a looong time before Bill Kenwright announced the winners.
We split the judges, apparently, and Bill's favourites didn't go through - but we did, we made it to the semi-finals! And we're officially allowed to say so now.
So, next round, Shakespeare, two scenes from King Lear - 3,VII Gloucester's blinding and 4,I Edgar and Gloucester. Brilliant. I'd said I wanted to direct this round from the very start - in fact I have been pushing Regent Rep to perform Shakespeare full stop for a year now - but the
directorship was awarded elsewhere.
Gutted, really heartbroken: I'd spent all week working really hard on the scenes, blocking, characters, action, special effects ideas, lighting, setting, working up four or five different settings and discarding the ones that didn't hold together etc etc...but I spent no time preparing my "pitch", so... not to be.
As I am involved with The 39 Steps I couldn't take a major part (directing fine, I had everything worked out in advance bar the physical in-rehearsal direction on the nights - but line learning, I have no time to do!), but I am to play Servant 1. So I get a fight and a death scene. "With his last...dying...breath...(hurls grenade)...FTOOOM!"...what do you mean, "er, no"??
Gutted I can't make the RSC movement and voice day in Stratford this weekend due to opening night for Arena, but hey. I still get to go to Stratford to perform it.