By Kathy Reid, director of 'Fight Them For the Beeches'
Back in mid-January, when we had our readthrough and casting, May felt like an age away, but in the blink of an eye here we are with a week to go! ‘Fight Them For the Beeches’ takes to the stage on Thursday May 11th. So, what is it like to enter the final week before a show?
As the director, you always hope that by this stage everything will be running like clockwork and you can sit back and enjoy the thought that everything has come together perfectly. And then there is the reality! There will always be things to work on, right up until the moment the curtain goes up on the first performance – that’s the excitement of putting on a show!
Beeches has been rewarding because so much creative work has been done and we’ve had a great team of people helping. The set is going to look fabulous and Charlie has worked wonders bringing people together to paint, stencil, saw and screw the various bits of wood to produce the look of a residential lounge, a bit on the shabby side, in Beeches Manor. There has been great ingenuity in the construction of Walker's ‘stashes’ and we love the specially painted portrait of Lord John which will take pride of place on the wall.
The cast have worked so hard on building their characters and this final week is about really getting the pace up and lines spot on. We also have to move from rehearsing in the Ruscombe Room and get used to the dynamics of the stage, having the set and furniture, using the right props, projecting voices and of course preparing ourselves for having an audience who will (we hope!) occasionally laugh.
Another thing we are focusing on this week is makeup. We had planned to run a workshop a couple of weeks ago with Marnie, a makeup professional, as some of the actors need to age up or down for their characters. Illness meant we had to postpone but we are looking forward to learning from Marnie’s expertise to build our understanding of how to do stage makeup, which of course will be a skill the group can benefit from in the future.
So yes, there is lots happening in the final week of preparation and of course there will always be those last-minute issues and changes. But the weeks of planning and hard work will mean that it will all come together and ensure we enjoy the fun of putting on a play and bringing entertainment to our audiences – that’s why we all do it in the end.
Want to see the official photos from the show? Visit our Past Shows page.