In both rooms, the third week of rehearsals was filled with realisations of how far we had come, and how quickly. Entering the rehearsal room on Monday morning it was hard to believe we had only arrived for the first time a fortnight before, and now we're talking about doing run-throughs.
For both Chris and Elayce, the task for the week was to find something approaching a final shape for the show. It's a tricky tightrope to walk in terms of wanting to still allow the casts room to breathe, but needing something fixed enough that we can start to pin down light and sound cues. There are also factors such as music, movement and fight choreography which require precision to work. It's not easy, but it's exciting, and by the end of the week I think there's a palpable sense that we might have something special on our hands.
The cast have done a remarkable job in this process. We have been working intense six-day weeks, and each actor has been juggling parts in two incredibly detailed and demanding texts. They have met the challenge with wit, patience and versatility. As they have developed as an ensemble they have found a brilliantly creative balance: between continuing to play and experiment with one another, whilst somehow instinctively knowing when to hold on to certain ideas and moments. The effect is that the plays manage to feel both consistent and unpredictable; the cast are going to be cooking the same meal on stage each night, but have the skill and flair to change the recipe a little every time.
Next up: tech week, and then before we know it, first preview. Wish us luck!
Catch The Iphigenia Quartet at the Gate Theatre, 23rd April – 21st May.