A better run tonight, the first we've managed with full company. The rain stayed off so we set a route around the campus and worked on leading a small audience of invited third years around the space.
There is an air of chaos about the work, that I don't think is going to completely disappear - but as long as the chess pieces stay up beat, cheerful and look friendly, enough of them know what they're doing to get the audience round safely. Each run brings more confidence and knowledge.
The show does work well, despite the fact that it's incredibly wordy. My guess is that the audiences will enjoy it in one of two ways. Firstly I hope most will follow the story, largely narrated by Sophie, playing the eighty year old Alice. For those who don't the hope is that Tina and Kate's sumptuous set and the fast paced slapstick routines of the chess pieces will keep them entertained and happy.
There were some real positives this evening. Millie, Emilie and Sarah as the Mock Turtle, Gryphon and Humpty respectively revelled in the chance to interact with the audience. Jordan and Natalie found new levels for the White Rabbit and the March Hare respectively whilst Adam and Chanika managed to hit the right rhythm and sense of fragility in the final farewell scene between the White Knight and young Alice.
In reality though the acting notes for good or bad are all but done. The main focus now is on staging the work at Ham.
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.