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The infinite details of performance

Posted on: 13th February, 2017

There is always a special feeling whenever an in-house production takes to the stage and last week it was great to see Northanger Abbey finally open and begin its run at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, it won’t be long until the cast and crew embark on their National Tour, visiting venues in every corner of the UK.

In the run up to opening night the cast have been working hard in rehearsals to get to grips with the script and physical action of the play. I’ve been lucky enough to watch the actors in rehearsals and one thing I’ve realised is that it’s the infinite details the show requires that makes this process truly fascinating. This week I thought I would look at some of the different things the cast have done to help create their characters for the show.

One of my personal highlights was the hair workshop that the cast took part in last Tuesday. It was to teach the cast how to re-create Regency period hairstyles, it’s incredible to think that a simple thing like wearing an incorrect hairstyle could undo weeks of hard work in the rehearsal room. The whole reason for the workshop was to give the cast the ability to create their own hair whilst out on tour.

One of my colleagues recently spoke to the cast about the challenges an actor faces in a show like this, one answer that was given seemed very perceptive stating; ‘As part of an ensemble, you have to be mindful of everyone’s individual stories so that you know where you fit and when; you become part of a complete picture. If you perform in a vacuum, your energy might be wrong for the overall piece, you might trample all over someone else’s journey.’

In the Theatre world there is often a focus on ‘the star of the show’ but I think the above quote sums up perfectly how a great production is made, it’s about all the performers working together for the good of the story. Every performer being allowed the room to create their character.

Benjamin Willmott, Press and Communications Officer

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