On Tuesday afternoon, James was riding in to rehearsals on his Vespa scooter and was unfortunately in an accident. A bus pulled out abruptly, a courier bike was caught by an island in the middle of the road and in these wet conditions, James slammed on the breaks and his front wheel locked, sending him to the floor. He was incredibly lucky only to escape with a broken finger and a couple of bruises. He was wearing a full visor helmet and apparently that took most of the damage. It could have been a lot worse, but the guy is a trooper and was in this afternoon rehearsing Laertes return to Elsinore. How fitting. But, I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him a speedy recovery! Especially as the broken finger is on his fighting hand. Eeek!
On top of all that, my day away from Hamlet has thrown me into a tizz! It feels like the start of the week, not the end. I couldn’t quite believe I was typing ‘Thursday 26th…’ into my subject heading. But you could be mistaken to believe that if I thought it was a Monday, that I’d feel all refreshed and ready to take on the day?
Wrong. I think there’s something in the ether. The cast are dropping like flies! Rod Smith has had a ear infection for the last week, Joe Mydell came in today all fluey, add to that James with his finger and my cough, irritating everyone (I’m sure) and my nose just won’t stop running. I blame this horrible London weather. It’s just so relentless. I’m sick of smelling like a wet dog. Hopefully it’ll ease off this weekend where I’ll be attending the Notting Hill Carnival with friends. Please?
Anyway, back to blog world.
Yesterday I was not in rehearsals as I was attending a funeral back in Wales. It was raining there too, surprise surprise! But I was back today, in at 11.30 for… a… umm… scene… that… I’m not… in. Hmm? Okay.
I was confused, to say the least. But, I think I’ve mentioned it in a earlier entry, that Paul has this idea of introducing characters that appear later in the play, earlier. For example, Osric is appearing in several scenes where he’s not scripted in. So the audience gets used to seeing the character and we as actors have a much better feel for our parts and our arch in the story. It’s a wonderful suggestion and it’s working. It’s common sense I suppose, the more you appear on stage as a character, the more you start to own it and the more the audience start to believe it. Obviously, most of the cast have only one part, there are only a couple of us ‘doubling up’. I hope it pays off when you see it, I’m sure it will.
I had the luxury though of witnessing an array of great scenes today. John Simm is on top form. Watch out! His Hamlet is going to be full of sincerity, passion, nuance and comedy. It’s a joy to watch someone’s performance grow throughout rehearsals, from read-through to final curtain. We’re coming to the end of week 2 and considering we’re flying through scenes, everyone is raising each other’s games and being so generous on the floor.
For instance, I love watching Adam and Dylan (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern). Their double act is subtle and genuinely funny. Often these character can be portrayed a little too Ant & Dec, but watching them play off John Simm & taking orders from John Nettles in two contrasting scenes, it just shows you the pairs diversity. Adam, playing it down the line and Dylan wearing his heart on his sleeve, the relationship is enjoyable to watch.
And I’m sure you’ll be pleased that friendships are growing too, in real life!
What a segue that was…
Hopefully as you follow my blog until the end of this journey, you’ll witness them blossom. Outside of the rehearsal room, the cast are getting to know each other and ‘banter’ is already forming. Captain Lamb and Harry ‘I only download free apps’ Lister Smith can vouche for me on that one. When you work so closely and intensely with a bunch of people, you tend to throw yourself in the deep end and make friends quickly. It makes the environment much more ‘workable’ - which is not rocket science, thank you Dr. Vlahos.
So, tomorrow will be Friday and that’ll be week 2 in the bag. One more week in London and we head up to Sheffield for a month and a bit! Baring all our hard work to the paying public. You lot! Aaaaaaah!