Things are moving very fast on Tender Souls at Richmond Theatre now, but there's a great sense of momentum and a real belief that the project is going to be a success. The laptop has become a constant companion and the script is being refined, edited and reshaped hourly as project manager Eleanor and me meet the young writers individually whenever we can to make sure everybody is happy with the work. It's come round very quickly after months of interviewing, transcribing, workshopping, imagining reading aloud and discussing each others offerings but for all the pitfalls and negotiations the process has been remarkably frustration free. Some of the writing is excellent.
We put out a call for actors on Tuesday via the agencies and became a bit overwhelmed when over three hundred were put up. I spent most of Wednesday filtering through and called fifteen to a brief interview and read of some of the script sections on Thursday at the National. We've now got a cracking cast, who all seem absolutely committed to honouring the writers' work. I think they'll be fun to be around as well. In turn we're now able to tell the writers to up their game and redraft in confidence that the actors will serve the work with intelligence and wit. It's a strong build.
Today we read through the work sitting on the stage. It was a good feeling and a relief to know we've too much rather than too little material.
We still have a couple of structural problems to overcome, not least how to time travel over the 110 years of Richmond Theatre's history. Do we use a tardis? Do we have a mystery man? Is it a new iphone application? or can a narrator just announce the date? For every solution another ten or fifteen problems arise, but slowly and carefully I can feel the ten voices beginning to settle into one play.
Off to Spain on Monday to take a little distracting break on Spiral project before heading back, hopefully renewed, into rehearsals. It's very exciting..