A week in the Tower – Day 2

Day 2 in the Tower was both encouraging and dispiriting.  We have a great show on our hands.  But I have a *lot* of work still to do, with less than 24 hours before the opening (sold out!) performance begins.

Most of the day was spent staggering through the show, working largely on set changes and on spacing in some of the dance routines that hadn’t been covered the previous day.  During act one, the set changes come thick and fast, requiring each and every member of both cast and crew to have their heads well and truly screwed on.  Careful choreography was required for getting our various props and set pieces on and off in time and each change was rehearsed over and over again.  My main responsibilities in terms of set changes have turned out to be some oil drums and a round table, but I also get to spend some quality time with a bar stool, a bus stop sign and a statue of the goddess Venus.

Act two seems to fly past, and involves far less in terms of set changes – what little there is can all be handled by the stage crew, leaving us actors to be our usual slightly scatty selves.  I don’t know what does it, but put a perfectly sensible, intelligent person on the stage and something terrible happens to their mind, making them (that is, us) unable to perform normal feats like tie shoelaces or walk in a straight line backstage.

In the evening, we had a full dress run.  Sound problems continued to make their presence felt.  I suspect part of the issue with mics is the costume change situation – the more costume changes each of us has, the more buried under layers of clothes the mic packs can get, and therefore the harder it is to get signal from them.  But I am not a sound engineer, so I might be talking nonsense.

The run was enlivened by the presence of a bat, which had also been glimpsed the previous night.  This time, however, the bat wanted to get to know us better.  During the finale of act one, it swooped around the auditorium, paying frequent social calls to the team on the lighting and sound desks.  Having decided that the music was to its liking (or more likely, having found the music thoroughly disorienting), it carried on making appearances throughout act two.  If I Can Dream was particularly enhanced by its attempts to divebomb the three principals who lead the number, presumably in an attempt to give them a hi-five for their excellence.

Several scenes and people really shone, and there are a lot of laughs in the show, in terms of both scripted gags and character performances.  Unfortunately for me, not one of my scenes went particularly well.  My vocals were all over the place and my costume changes were worse than appalling.  During my quick, onstage change, my shoes somehow came off, meaning that I had to end the scene running around in my socks.  And my final costume change was a mess, despite help from the leading man (who surely had more important things to be thinking of).  Buttons were beyond my power of thought.  And in terms of acting, no matter how hard I tried, I felt like I was simply phoning my performance in.  I am sure that I have somehow been getting slightly worse with each run-through over the last week, when it really should be the other way round.

After the run-through, the director went through notes with us all.  He pointed out some things that I was well aware I had done wrong, and several things that I hadn’t noticed as well.  All are noted down and will be worked on tomorrow.  As a whole, the show is really coming together well.  I just know I need to raise my own game.  For me, Day 3 in the Tower will be focussed on getting back what I’ve lost and putting in as much effort as it takes to improve my performance to the best of my ability.

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