Dress Rehearsal 1

There’s always something magic about the first dress.  For an actor, it’s coming to terms with the outer visual manifestation of one’s own character; that and looking across the stage to your partners, and entering the new visual world of the play.  Until then, it’s been all in the imagination; now it’s out there, and real.  Put the lights on this movement, shape, texture and colour, and it can become a treat for the eye, adding a frisson to the action on stage.  Carolyn Taylor-Smith, costume designer, and her team have done a fabulous job, with the emphasis on “fabulous.”  They’ve created a vision of a stage world of fable and myth: dragons and wolves, warriors, nobles, and elemental beings.  Overhead, there are the stars and the moon waxing with each day that passes, and all around the whisper and rustle of the wind through the leaves.  It’s quite an experience, and like nothing inside the walls of a theatre.
That coming to life of a vision was what happened last night.  On either side of the stage, lights splashed off the leaves of the “Festival tree” and its neighbour, a giant plane tree, and over the grass of the park.  The stage structure itself, like a giant skeleton, was lit up brilliantly in the darkness, and the actors and their technical staff took full advantage of what we all felt was a transformative opportunity, and stepped up the performances another notch; energy was high, focus fantastic, and the text “dropped in” as I’d not heard it before.  Always nice for a voice coach on a Shakespeare play to feel that the actors really DO know what they are saying and why; it doesn’t always happen!
It was a long night, but a good one!  Tomorrow, a rest day for most of the company, with some final shooting of footage for the A-V accompaniment.  Three days to go, and yes, counting!