By Tess Monro - Assistant Director
The third week of rehearsals on Citizens Theatre’s forthcoming production of Anders Lustgarten’s Lampedusa has centered on refining, tightening and consolidating detail. At this stage in the process the exploration, investigation and experimentation of weeks one and two has paid dividends and the priority has shifted from play and invention towards making final decisions. An essential aspect of this has been finalizing the updates made to the original script in preparation for production week; Anders’ unwavering support was exemplified when he sent the “go ahead” all the way from Nice!
The first half of the week was spent staggering through the play with musical support from composer Stuart Ramage. For the first time we saw all the component and composite elements of the production pieced together, giving us insight into the overall shape and feeling of the production. This illuminated areas in need of refining; key moments in the text that needed enhancing or clarifying in the performances in order to sharpen the dramatic arc of the play. During this process we were also able to hone the relationship between the performances and live music; tightening the music cues and underscoring of the production.
By Thursday we were ready for our first run of the play. Joined by the rest of the creative and production team (Producer Steph Connell, Lighting Designer Benny Goodman, Designer Alisa Kalyanova, Technical Stage Manager Neil Anderson), it was our first performance in front of an audience. This is always a nerve-inducing experience; releasing our collaborative creation and artistic response to Anders’ masterpiece into the ether. To our delight, however, the run went without hitch and was met with positive feedback.
With only a few areas for reconsideration suggested by our creative collaborators and advisers, we wasted no time in getting back to work with notes to Stu and the actors before a second run that afternoon. Due to the nature of the performance space, an intimate in the round configuration, it was important to Director Jack Nurse to give the actors as much exposure to the space with an audience as possible (prior to the opening of the show). For the second run of the day we were joined by Wonder Fools Co-founder Robbie Gordon whose dramaturgical perspective gave us food for thought and inspiration for further development of detail.
Friday was spent honing, refining and in places reworking in preparation for production week. Thanks to Jack’s proficient organization, attention to detail and concise and articulate expression in the rehearsal room, and Louise Mai and Andy’s commitment, focus and resourcefulness, we enter production week in the strongest position possible.
Thus it is with enthusiasm that we embark on the opening of our production of Lampedusa in the Citizen Theatre’s Circle Studio, and we are excited by the prospect of seeing all our hard work come to fruition in the sand and under the lights.