With one week to go until the opening night of our October production, directors Pete King and Charlie Poulter give us some insight into the goings-on in the run-up to putting the show on stage.
The Monkey's Paw - Director's Story
By director Pete King
It can be demanding taking on the direction of a new production on behalf of the Drama Group. A lot of people are depending on you to produce an end product that the Great British public will be prepared to pay to see.
Bringing The Monkey's Paw to the stage has given us some challenges along the way. We have a wonderful cast, and of course, as amateur actors they have jobs, family commitments and all the trappings of modern life. On top of all this we ask them to rehearse and learn their lines.
Whilst rehearsals have gone well with the cast learning their lines early and characterisations coming along nicely, we did have one week which was particularly challenging. We knew that one of our number was taking a well-earned holiday but we weren't ready for cars breaking down, illness and finally COVID. These things happen in life and as the director, you just have to go with it. There was of course, a positive side to this. If the car hadn't broken down, the whole cast of both plays might have been infected. Fate?
I don't want to give anything away about the plot, but I will say that The Monkey's Paw is a supernatural thriller and is over 100 years old. I hope the audience will find it scary - we certainly find it quite scary. One of the reasons we're doing The Monkey's Paw first and Little Grimley second is so that people aren't walking across the car park looking over their shoulders!
Little Grimley Presents Strictly Sex Factor... On Ice - One Week To Go
By director Charlie Poulter
One week to go… please don’t tell me we only have one week to go! I refuse to believe it. When we staged the read-through and auditions back in May, October seemed like months
This is the first show I have directed with Twyford Drama, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was tasked with finding a Little Grimley One Act which I would like to direct. Therefore, after an extensive thirty minutes of scrutinising several different scripts and undertaking thorough research (I absolutely did not just google Little Grimley and select the title which contained the word SEX!), I made my choice. We had a script... After devouring it for about four hours before the read-through, I was very relieved to discover that it was, in fact, hilarious - and this took me by surprise.
I was initially a little concerned that so few members came along to the read-throughs and auditions. However, I struck lucky… I had decided on my four cast members by the end of the second page! All I needed them to do was to shine for the duration of the audition in order to be satisfied. That they certainly did! I also didn’t have to contest with Pete (director of The Monkey’s Paw) for the actors, so that was an additional relief. I was also delighted to be able to cast a brand new Twyford Drama member, which is always a joy.
I would be lying if I announced that we were books down, ready to go, with everything firmly in place… however we are having a real blast rehearsing. I am constantly dissolving into fits of giggles, which I hope is a good sign, as this show truly cracks me up.
The cast have been working so hard on perfecting their characters, and the last couple of rehearsals have certainly demonstrated that they have nailed all the dramatic nuances and are delivering some of my favourite lines expertly.
We have been very fortunate to have had a few rehearsals over the summer using the stage and the crew have gathered props and sorted the set really early so the cast have had plenty of time to familiarise themselves with them; that has made an enormous difference for the actors.
I haven’t started to feel nervous about it or worried (someone remind me on opening night that I said this!), but I am interpreting that as a positive sign; at this point, as a director I feel I am just there to look pretty and fill a seat! I now have to hand the reins over to my cast and trust in their skill and ability to put all their hard work and effort into the final show.
All of us, the cast and crew, hope you enjoy the production as much as we have enjoyed piecing it together. Please do seek us out after the show and come and tell us how wonderful we all are!