After an extremely successful first week of shows, I have a moment to sit down and update you on what we’ve been up to since we last blogged.
We’ve put together a great cast for the show, a really strong group of actors who’ve built up fantastic realtionships in a short space of time, allowing us to really push them and demand a lot of the group knowing they have the trust and support of each other to make our ideas a reality. We’ve also had days of cake and celebration liberally sprinkled throughout the process so far, with a couple of birthdays and the news that our youngest cast member, Ronald Nsubuga, has been successful in his audition to train next year at East 15 Acting School, the place you might call the crucible of Misrule, it being where Cerian and I met and started to work together and realise the type of theatre and experience that excite us. It has been a real pleasure to be able to offer Ron, who we have worked with at Theatre Peckham since he was 12, his first professional job and, through coaching him for his drama school auditions, to see his development into a young actor of real promise.
Having regular visits from Frog Stone, our writer, meant that we could adapt, change and request new bits of script as we realised how the piece could work best – and where we might need a bit more text to cover the time it takes to build the beautiful house that Tito Vega and Gozart designed for us. We have also been lucky enough to get regular input from Teresa Early, artistic director of Theatre Peckham, and a group of deaf and hard of hearing students from a Lewisham school who provided valuable feedback on the strength of the visual storytelling in the show – which is key for outdoor spaces where some of the audience will be too far awaty to engage wioth the dialogue. We finished the rehearsal period with a couple of run-throughs in parks near the rehearsal space which gave the cast some idea of how people might interact with the piece – and natural elements they may have to deal with during the course of the run (I’m talking mostly about rain here, obviously!)
We took the show first to Deptford Market last Saturday, which was blazingly hot and a really friendly place to do our first shows. The response was fantastic – people very excited to see something unexpected in their local area and very positive about the show itself – sample quote: “I liked it when the did blow the lady up” – and, barring a broken megaphone, the day was a raging success. Monday morning (very early) and we found ourselves performing after the Olympic torch passed through Deptford – a great atmosphere and fantastic to perform for more than 350 people anticipating the next few weeks of events and entertainment across London, and allows us to get excited about our show at the Lewisham Olympic Big Screen Super Saturday festival next week.
Finally, we have also spent a lovely few days in sunny (and dry!) Manchester at the 24:7 Theatre Festival, performing for people from the ages of about 6 months to about 80 (including a show for a group of about 100 boisterous teenagers, who sat engrossed for the whole thing, shouting out suggestions and comments to the performers, and aside from a few condoms (still in packets mercifully) being flung onto the performance space were pretty much the most positive audience we’ve had so far).
So, more 2000 people have seen Square One so far and we’ve still got two weeks to go!