The start of the big week in the push towards the show. The schedule is pretty tight. Tonight we've been teching in Ham house ready for a dress tomorrow. Then we'll pack everything up in the van and move over to Sutton on Wednesday to tech, ready for a dress on Thursday and the shows on Friday. Then get it all back to Ham for the early start on Saturday.
Both properties remain open during the day, which means we can't leave anything on site and our get in times are limited until after 5pm, which in turn means we have to set up very quickly and speed through the work to ensure we manage to get it all done by nightfall.
The company are beginning to work like a well oiled machine. Joe, Michael and Paul have embraced their white van man roles and the second they pull up with the set and costumes the rest of the team swarm, collect their props and rush to the four corners of the gardens to set.
Tonight was the only real chance we've had to do try out our voices in the space and we tried to use the time intelligently, fixing much of the blocking whilst also giving everybody a good vocal work out.
For the most part things went very smoothly. We're running The Prologue and The Knight's Tale in the wilderness before moving to the kitchen garden for The Miller's Tale, and coming round to the front of the house for The Wife of Bath and the Benediction. In all it takes about an hour and a fifteen minutes to run, but potentially we'll need a further fifteen minutes to move the audience.
The only concern was for the second show which starts at 8pm. By 9pm tonight things were pretty gloomy and the final scene ended up in near complete darkness. We played with the idea of bringing in a generator and some lights, but it's expensive, could be noisy and we just don't have the set up time. Gary overheard our conversation and solved the problem instantly by turning on Ham's own floods, which lit up the front of the house and will provide a stunning backdrop for the end of the pilgrimage. .
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.