Director’s Notes: Mankind: First Rehearsals  

 

Mankind is approaching swiftly, and all of us at HIDden are running about making sure things are in order. The weeks leading up to a production are always exciting, and busy, but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the more delightful aspects of our process thus far. It’s a snapshot of a bit of our “behind the scenes” life. Here are a few of my favourite moments:

  • While everyone works on Latin pronunciation, during blocking rehearsals we all just shout “Latin!” where a big chunk of it is in the script.
  • Trying out lots of different characterisations for Titivillus- because demons can be just about anyone.
  • Those moments where actors you’ve worked with before manage to take their work to a new level and surprise you with an even better performance than expected.
  • Getting to know and witness the incredible talents of new (and personally very lovely!) people.
  • When, as the director, I’ve read a line so many times and yet an actor comes in and reads it with a totally new delivery, and it brings out extra layers of meaning I hadn’t imagined.
  • Falling back in love with the play. By the time we hit rehearsals I’ve read it so often it’s lost a lot of its freshness, but as soon as it’s in the hands of the actors, I remember all the reasons I loved it in the first place.
  • That instant where I know that an actor understands their character perfectly and is bringing it to life in all the subtle and colourful ways that make it real.
  • Watching the cast bond. You always wonder, “Will this group work well together? Will they be able to support and challenge one another?” It’s always exciting to see that come into being.
  • Being constantly impressed by how quickly the actors weave little adjustments and ideas into their characters, and how it instantly clarifies things.
  • Group enthusiasm. Everyone’s been off learning lines and thinking about their characters; the energy of getting everyone in one room and starting to put it together is always special.
  • The surprise that comes when we hit the somewhat more bawdy parts of the play. Not all the actors had realised that medieval plays could be quite so “colourful”!

There is much left to do, but everyone is working really hard, and I think we’re all enjoying the process. I can’t wait to see what the next week will bring- and I hope you’ll join us at the performance, because all the signs thus far are pointing to a really great production!

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