Well its half way through rehearsals in the rehearsal room! That’s not including the time for the get in, sitzprobe and all the technical rehearsals and final dress rehearsal but the time we have as a company to stage everything and learn the show! Where is time flying to? Crazy but already we have seen an incredible amount of work and dedication to the production happening.
So what can I report? Well, Act One is ‘blocked’. We have staged it (with a few gaps!) and on Friday we staggered through the whole act from start to finish. A fantastic, if exhausting day, as it included working through the scene changes that have to be as fluid and clear as the scenes that they link. I don’t mind admitting that this is a complicated show and already we are working through technical details in the rehearsal room. This will hopefully save time and tantrums when we get in to the Arcola and everyone wants more time than will ever be available!
Dance wise, Lee Proud (choreographer) and Anthony Whiteman (Associate Choreographer) are crafting up a storm. Work started in week one on the Act 2 ballet and will continue right up to opening night and, indeed, beyond. Fans of Rodgers and Hammerstein will know of their famous Act 2 ballets, a trend that started with Oklahoma and carried on into Carousel. This beautiful section of the show will be like nothing anyone has seen before! It is simply beautiful!
Choreography and staging is going from strength to strength. I am genuinely in awe of the work that those in these numbers are doing. Lee is blending the traditional with a real sense of edge and dynamic, matching this new “bold” approach to the piece. He is also adding a bit of Agnes De Mille (the show’s original choreographer) so for fans of the traditional, there is some very clever links.
Elsewhere, Andrew Corcoran (MD) and I, together with assistant director James Hume, have been working through scenes and songs. Our cast are truly extraordinary and it is a true honour to work with people so passionate, intelligent and committed. It is incredible the complex, detailed story within the script of Carousel. Each character is incredibly detailed and, what I hope will be unique to this production, we have uncovered moments that will shock, entertain and move people.
It is thrilling and frightening working on such an established piece. So much trust (quite rightly) is laid with the material while making sure that an audience, who are watching it 70 years on from when it was first written, will be engaged and connect to the story. Unlike other musicals, Carousel is told with subtlety and grace. There are painful moments and moments of light relief. It is very much like a rollercoaster (pun intended!) and by the end, you feel you have been on a journey with the characters that walked on stage at the start of the piece. The tragedy and finale of Carousel are famous enough and known by many. To those who do not know the piece, the story must be compelling and hold them to the very end. No pressure then!!
Costumes, set and props are growing in the rehearsal room, to the point that we are looking more and more like the set of Noises Off! It really is so exciting and plenty is going on for you all to watch out for. We had “official” rehearsal photos taken on Friday. We have yet to see them but we will be getting them out next week and have also been visited by a New York One. This US TV channel are doing a programme on American Musicals in London and were over filming and interviewing last week! All very exciting. If we get a link to it, we will put it on our website.
Plenty more to come as we head towards the opening (gulp!) night. Tickets are selling and we are starting to nudge people to think about booking. Preview tickets (first five shows) are at a reduced price of £15 don’t forget! I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. As we start to move to Act 2, I am already ordering tissues for everyone for the emotional scenes!!
Don’t forget to follow us on facebook too for cast and creative interviews and lots of random Carousel and musical theatre info (some of which will be useful for a pub quiz at some point I am sure!!) http://www.facebook.com/carousel2014