It’s the end of week 3: We’re past the mid-point in rehearsals, tech week is almost upon us and I have way too much caffeine coursing through my system. With a certain mermaid-affiliated coffee establishment less than 30 seconds from the rehearsal space and a number of us having taken to chain-drinking their coffee, I’m beginning to think said coffee establishment should sponsor the show and thusly provide us all with a steady stream of caffeine.
It feels as though we’ve been exceptionally busy this week; pulling together all the strands that have been formed somewhat disparately in the early stages of rehearsals, we’re now getting glimpses of the ‘whole’. There has been lots to choose from but my absolute favourite moment of week 3 has to be Director, Chris Haydon, introducing Louise McMenemy (Sophie) and Lois Chimimba (Mel) to Beyoncé’s Sorry (there was even some light choreography).
I’ve also had the pleasure of running lines with some of the actors (don’t worry folks, I didn’t subject anybody to my rubbish attempt at a Scottish accent). With a few more sessions, I’m fairly confident that I could understudy any (all?) of the cast members. Diary of a Mad Man: The One Woman Show anyone? Could all Broadway bigwigs find the strength to contain their excitement and please form an orderly queue outside the Gate's offices, Miss Dosanjh will be with you shortly…
In other news, I cannot overstate the difference it makes to rehearse the scenes in order. More than that, running them back to back and stitching them together with carefully considered transitions, we are afforded a refreshing oversight and newfound clarity. As the actors come off book, writer Al Smith’s love of language becomes evident – in the easy rhythm encouraged by his dialogue and the underlying complexity weaved into his script.
By peeling away the layers of mythology painted onto the heart of the play, we ultimately expose one man’s journey into madness when the pillars of his life crumble around him following the arrival of his new apprentice. Even in rehearsals with a skeleton of set, bits of costume and a few props thrown in, it’s pretty clear that audiences are in for something special.
This play has it all, folks. If I was going to add anything else, I suppose it could use more Pokémon? Rest assured, fair readers, meeting with Al to amend this situation is high atop my ‘To-Do’ list for next week.
Catch the previews for Diary of a Madman at the Gate Theatre, 28th – 30th July.