Morphic Graffiti, Part 8 and the puzzle that is growing in complexity!

Ok. So it’s Thursday, day 6 of auditions and we are nearly finished! The last week has been quite simply incredible. The talent that has turned up to audition at the Lost Theatre in Stockwell has been stunning. We have seen enough to cast this show ten times over!

Although the casting decisions are not set in stone we thought a quick blog update and a brief insight into the world inside the audition room might be of interest to our readers!

So what has been happening? Well depending on what people have been up for, we have usually heard people sing their own choice of song first. Popular song choices for girls have included numbers from The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Wild Party, The Secret Garden and Chess. The boy’s auditions featured a lot of Ragtime, The Wild Party (again) and a lot of classic repertoire (a fair few songs from Les Miserables, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber)

Below are a few photos from one of our audition days. All looks very serious and professional which is the image we like to maintain!!

 

Deep in discussion......

Anyone for coffee?!

Adam (Casting Director) wishes he had asked for that coffee!!

As well as hearing people sing we have been looking at sections from the script too. Where possible, we have been redirecting the scenes to not only see where people take the character but also to explore different ways that the text can be interpreted. Jekyll and Hyde is largely ‘sung-through’ with dialogue-based scenes being short and snappy to drive the narrative, but it was integral that we see people act through both song and dialogue.

What has really excited the entire panel is to see the fabulous, iconic songs from the show being brought to life, with truthful, emotional interpretations that drive the character’s individual stories. This production is going to pack an emotional punch for sure!

When we announce our cast (and it will be very soon we promise!!) you can take our word for it that the decisions made will not have been easy. We knew the puzzle of bringing everyone together was tricky, but we did not foresee how the high standard of everyone auditioning has made this so complex! We will let you in to a secret and say that our Jekyll is in place, but you will have to stay posted to find out the full cast that will bring this fantastic piece to life.

You have our word that you will not be disappointed.

@morphicgraffiti

morphicgraffiti.com

 

 

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Morphic Graffiti, Part 7 and an inspiring day at the Shaw Theatre!

So auditions have started! ‘Jekyll Day’ was fantastic and to say we were blown away by what happened yesterday would be an understatement! Thank you to all who came to see us at the Shaw Theatre. Some Jekyll’s bought us to tears and some Hyde’s completely freaked us out (in a good way). The variety of approaches to the two characters was fantastic. Some exciting character revelations came through, ideas were brought to life and the iconic number ‘This Is the Moment’ has been work-shopped and broken down with exhilarating results. One reading of the script even suggested a reason why ‘Hyde’ is given that name!

A big thank you to Huw Evans played piano for us like a dream (accompanying everyone’s songs), and entertained us with some lovely renditions of Jekyll and Hyde songs with alternative musical endings (be it in the style of Grease or Wicked!!). Obviously this happened in the scheduled breaks and not during auditions! Our production assistant Lauren was on hand to sign people in and will be around at most auditions so if you are coming in, please say “hi” as she does not bite!

We are seeing more Jekyll’s tomorrow and will begin the humungous task of casting the entire show, with auditions continuing into next week. By next Friday, we will have finished all casting and then everything is in place for the real magic to happen! From what we have seen today it is going to be really tough to piece this puzzle together. Adam Braham is currently contacting people with regards to audition times. We are still receiving CV’s too even though the deadline has passed. Thank you for the interest that has been shown. It is incredible!

More updates on auditions to follow. There was a sneaky photo of us on Twitter (looking like a less glittery version of the X factor panel!) so if you are not following us, please do! @morphicgraffiti

Tickets are on sale and are selling well. This is a reminder to get in now and book your preferred dates because when this cast is finalised and announced it’s going to go crazy!!!

http://www.morphicgraffiti.com

Morphic Graffiti, Part 6 and “Jekyll Day”!!

Another week closer to opening night, another huge list of exciting things that have either started or have been progressing forwards.  There appears to be no time to sleep.  We are now into two months before we open!

Firstly, casting submissions have been flying in. Yesterday we sat down and had a look at almost six HUNDRED (!!) cv’s and photos that have been sent in. We have been completely overwhelmed by the interest in doing the project and the calibre of people is extraordinary. Dean, Stewart and I cannot wait to start auditions and meet everyone. Adam has been liasing with agents, sending out sides of script and music and generally dealing with the complex task of processing a phenomenal response to the project.  Unfortunately there is no way we can see everyone either which is gutting, but we would still be seeing people through Easter and beyond!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is affectionately known as ‘Jekyll Day’. We start the audition process and will hopefully meet our potential Dr Jekyll face to face!! Although no formal decisions will be made (we have to look at how we cast the whole company and how everyone works together) we will be meeting the actors, working through small sections material from the script and score and talking through our visions of the show and how we are going to bring it to life.

On the panel will be Luke (as director), Stewart (with more of his ‘Producer’ hat on, and maybe his ‘Costume Designer’ sunglasses!!), Dean (as Musical Director), Huw (playing piano beautifully and taking on dual role as Assistant MD) and someone in to read script with our potential Jekylls and Hydes!!We will update with how we get on!! (and maybe a photo or two!)

Yesterday was also a fantastic meeting with the people behind http://www.stagewon.com , an amazing resource for all theatregoers and fans. Watch this space for more exciting news on the outcome of the meeting (we don’t want to pre-empt it!!) and how Morphic Graffiti and StageWon will be getting involved together.

So not only did we have two wonderful meetings yesterday, but the day ended with a site visit  to the Union Theatre! Very exciting to go back and visit with a complete understanding of Stewart’s set design. The venue is completely flexible, and the current play that is on (‘How’s the World Treating You?’) is using the stage and seating  in a completely different configuration. It’s an incredible space and we plan to use its versatility to our advantage.

Finally, one quick update on the set. The Saturday just gone was Build Day 3 of 4 and with the addition of our Stage Manager Katherine Tippins on site, the construction work went from slick to positively well oiled! The largest component of the set has been constructed (collective sigh of relief) and the next stage will be adding the copious amounts of detail that will make our audiences gasp!!

Check back soon,

Book your tickets!!

Wish us luck with casting! We will keep everyone posted!

www.morphicgraffiti.com            Twitter: @morphicgraffiti

Morphic Graffiti, Part 5 and the ‘Beast’ (and we’re not talking Edward Hyde!)

Nine weeks today we will be opening! Wow! Where is time going?! Typing this blog now, I am calm, relaxed and excited. I would like to think that similar emotions will be experienced in nine weeks time but I am not sure….hmm……

What news to report?! So much going on. Stewart is off for yet more set  meetings to sort through all matters relating to the set. He has been at technical meetings with Sharon Calcutt (our technical manager) and making huge progress with the logistics of getting the set in to the Union Theatre! It is going to be very big and very beautiful!  We are currently devising schedules to find the optimum time to get everything in place once the theatre is handed over to us. Four days to rig the lights, put up the set, focus, plot, set up the band, paint the floor, organise costumes…..oh crikey!

Painting part of the set model. A designer’s work is never done!

Yesterday was another exciting day with Tom Curran (our Orchestrator). You may have seen us deep in thought in the photo on twitter as we heard the arrangements for “Murder Murder”, the number we affectionately refer to as ‘the Beast’. While we all love it dearly, it is a ferocious 12 minutes of continuous music, dialogue and movement with no room for any mistakes or any space to stop. The number opens act two and is going to be stunning if the ideas and sounds coming from yesterday’s meeting are anything to go by.  Apart from a nudge to keep the noise down (blame the very full orchestral sounds from Tom’s arrangements) the meeting was a huge success and shows that our band of five musicians will not only do justice to the beautiful ballads that Frank Wildhorn has written, but will certainly pack a punch when it comes to providing the drama and tension in the piece.

Yesterday was also the day that all the remaining breakdowns for our cast were put out by Adam Braham. If you check out his website, www.adambrahamcasting.co.uk, you can see what we are looking for. Interest in the show is growing day by day and we have been overwhelmed by the positive responses to the piece and the production. Thank you. It is certainly keeping us focussed!

Spread the word and keep following us. Don’t forget tickets are on sale too!!

Twitter: @morphicgraffiti

Morphicgraffiti.com

Morphic Graffiti, part 4 and the potentially hot Dr Jekyll!

How is it Tuesday already?! Things are moving on at a fast rate. We sat down with Adam Braham yesterday and went through submissions for our Dr Jekyll. So many talented (and very dapper looking) hunks popping up and some new names that we are very excited about. Auditions will take place imminently. The breakdown for all other roles goes out this week so please check out the website and Facebook for updates. We can’t wait to finally get to hear actors sing the songs we have been talking about and visualising come to life!

For those who don’t know the Wildhorn/Bricusse version of the original novel, the characters that feature alongside the ill-fated Dr Jekyll include his fiancee Emma Carew, his Father-in-Law Sir Danvers Carew, a host of opposing aristocrats, his love-rival Simon Stride, and his best friend John Utterson. It is Utterson that leads Jekyll to the Red Rat, to the pimps and prostitutes of London’s underworld and the misguided Lucy Harris. Many fantastic roles and all required to sing not just some amazing songs, but haunting vocal lines and intricate harmonies. Boy do we have our work cut out!!

Anyone who is part of our facebook group will have briefly read last night that we were up till late photographing the model box! Working with Katherine James Photography, we have used Stewart’s set model and put all the locations down, working out the scene changes and sight lines to give us a head start before we start rehearsing! These pictures will also be used by Cat, Sharon and Katherine to help visualise lighting states, technical demands and mean that we don’t go into technical rehearsals with the infamous phrase “what happens now?!!”

In other news, we have been having meetings in offices, coffee shops, other theatres and anywhere that we can really to keep the show moving forwards. Today is about videos and virals! Lots of ideas have been drawn up to help us promote the show and whet the appetite of those who are keen to see our take on this very famous story! Marketing is integral and we are looking at strategies old and new to spread the word! If you go anywhere near the Union Theatre you will undoubtedly see a poster or flyer! Our twitter follower count is rising and tickets are already selling. We open in two months and three days (not that we are counting!!)

Keep checking back. If you would like posters/flyers to help us promote the show please email us at info@morphicgraffiti.com

Any one interested in auditioning please contact Adam Braham via the link on our website: http://www.morphicgraffiti.com

Morphic Graffiti, Part three and the journey begins to find our Dr Jekyll (or should that be Edward Hyde?!)

So it’s early Sunday evening. The general mood is calm and serene and we start to contemplate the week ahead! Wow! Tomorrow morning (early!!) we start to look at submissions for our Dr Jekyll/Edward Hyde. The casting ball has already started rolling but now it picks up more of us en route! Adam Braham has been sorting out cv’s and already we are overwhelmed with the interest in the production. We have a mammoth puzzle to put together in the coming weeks. We  are so excited to start to be able to put faces to the characters that those of use ‘behind the scenes’ have been talking about for so long.

We start with our Dr. Jekyll and then, from there, will seek to find the myriad of characters that shape this story; his fiancée Emma, his Father-in-Law, the aristocrats of London’s social set, John Utterson his best mate. There are so many complex characters to work through and we cannot wait to get started! Breakdowns for all characters have been drawn up and scrutinised and will be sent out next week, but details on casting can be found on our website!

This weekend also saw Phase 2 of the set build. In our secret location (also known as a church hall in Essex) we have started to build the set for Jekyll and Hyde. “Already?”!!! we hear you cry what with it being March and the show opening in May! “Yes!!”. We have four weekends set aside to turn a lorry load of material into the stunning design that Stewart has given blood, sweat and tears over.

Stewart’s design ideas began pretty much as soon as we had signed the go ahead to do the show. The show is full of many different and unique locations and the set design will reflect this (and then some!). Meetings with Luke (the director), Dean (music), Sharon (technical) and Cat (Catherine Webb, our incredible lighting designer with the artistic eye to really ignite the world we are creating!) have led Stewart to build a highly detailed set model box. Built to exact scale, it now means we can all, within the creative team,  visualise lighting, movement, drama and now enables Stewart to see how his subsequent costume designs work. We would love to put up a photo of the set for you, but that would ruin the surprise when you come see the show!

What we can say is that Stewart has laid every scaled brick, crafted every piece of scaled furniture and has even made, with his bare hands, our cast:

Our cast in scale-model form!!

Check back soon for more updates!

Catherine Webb’s biography has been added to our website. Have a look: www.morphicgraffiti.com

Twitter: @morphicgraffiti

Morphic Graffiti, Part Two, and the “Satanic Mickey Mouse”

So what has been going on in the Morphic Production office since we started pre-production for Jekyll and Hyde?

Well the first, obvious aspect we needed to arrange has been the design. Obviously one of the most important parts of any theatre event is the poster image and creating a look for the show is critical. We discussed the obvious as well as the underlying themes for the production: good and evil (obviously!), medical science, morality, love, lust, relationships etc. Trying to avoid this sounding like an A-Level essay on the Jekyll and Hyde novel, we shall fast forward to what we came up with. Stewart, Luke and Mike (Mike Fraga our legendary computer whizz, web designer and photo shop wizard on a parallel with Harry Potter himself) sat on a sofa and thrashed out the final image. We may not have the budget of Dewynters or the brains of a leading marketing firm but we are, nonetheless, very proud of our image that we hope reflects some of the themes of Jekyll and Hyde. Have a look yourself and see if you can see the following: London, 2 faces of a split personality/the two women in Jekyll’s life, love (Eros the God of love), lust (a stripper), as well as the image of a skull x-ray in the background and a general look of a psychiatrist’s ambiguous image. Don’t worry if you don’t get all that. Just know that was where we were coming from!!

So with the poster image done, we contacted Spiff who laid out our flyers and posters with the result being what you see splattered across our website and posters and flyers! But fear not, the marketing has only just started and we will keep you posted on how everything develops.

What else has taken place so far in the production office of Jekyll and Hyde. “Plenty” is the answer. As I type, the breakdown for our Dr Jekyll/Edward Hyde has gone out this week via spotlight. It is the first stage of our casting process. All the ‘breakdowns’ have been written (descriptions of how we as a creative team see the roles being played, vocal ranges as well as age ranges for each role) and are ready to be sent out by the fabulous Adam at Adam Braham Casting. Adam has cast many shows at the Union already and is on board with us to bring our cast together! We will hopefully bring together 16 amazing performers to tell this story (nine guys/seven girls) so watch this space. We will blog about the whole process!!

The end of another week, and a week closer to opening night!! Highlight this week was hearing the orchestrations by Tom for “Take Me As I Am” and “Façade” (Goose bumps all round). Low-light of the week – there isn’t one thus far – everything is still very new and exciting and long may it stay that way.

Until next time ……..

www.morphicgraffiti.com

Twitter: @morphicgraffiti