Oversaw my first rehearsal for Return To Steyning last night. It’s a short play by a local writer – Richard Hearn – that’s going to be performed in our next ‘Cast Iron’ night of new writing next month at the DukeBox Theatre. Yes, that’s next month: but I haven’t had a chance to do any rehearsals with the cast yet, mainly because I was fully committed to another play until the middle of May. People have been asking me what I’m going to be doing with all my evenings back. Other people, people who actually know me, haven’t bothered to ask.
I was late for rehearsal. This is both highly improbable, and virtually impossible, given that the rehearsal space last night is only about six minutes away from where I live, and it’s pretty much a straight line from one to the other (indeed, if you veer too much to the left, you end up in the sea). But I still managed to be late – in fact, I’d already walked past where I needed to be. By the time I eventually arrived, my cast were already deep into rehearsal. In real terms, they didn’t really need me. This is both encouraging and mollifying.
They were doing so well, in fact, that I was loathe to interrupt them. But I did anyway, because this will be a very quick turnaround of rehearsal. Normally, I like to give my actors a bit of elbow room, and not straight jacket them into a limited character that I’ve already decided to pen them into. I’m not always successful at that, possibly because I like the sound of my own director-y voice too much, but I was very chatty last night – hopefully more chatty than I will be at any subsequent rehearsal, partially because I’m having to abandon at least some of my high ideals as a director and give the cast fairly limited parameters to work with. My justification is the limited rehearsal time: we don’t have a helluva lot of time to try things out and go down weird artistic blind alleys (which of course, are the very best kind of blind alleys to wander down). The cast understood this, and accepted my constant interruptions with great grace and intelligence.
Haven’t had a chance to do a rewrite on the next draft of the current script yet, despite the two ideas that I had to insert into the text yesterday. I have, however, managed to scribble some notes on the most recent hard copy. I always find that the more time you spend away from a WIP, the more difficult it can be to get back on board – leave it alone for more than a few days, and it feels more than overwhelming to attempt to get anywhere near the script, like it’s some kind of monotholic beast. But as long as you’re checking in every so often on the days that you’re not able to fully commit to the writing, then you’ve still got a leash on the monster, and it shouldn’t escape you too easily.