This week has been all about preparing our show for an audience. Play time in the pool is over as we start to look for precision and clarity in the stage pictures that we are creating, and add a complex soundscape to the action of the show. We slowly run through the whole play over the course of three days, repeating sections again and again to get them right. Josie and I are working with Robert Wierzel, our lighting designer, for the first time, and so there are many conversations about colour, tone and feel of the scenes as we develop a shared understanding of our vision for the visual life of the show. It is a play that is rooted in the celebration of music, both in the number of songs that it has and also in its spirit, and our composer, Rokko [Alaric] Jans, is always at hand to draft and redraft the music, even re-writing whole pieces, as timings change and the atmosphere we are seeking to create becomes clearer.
We also start to use clothes on stage for the first time and immediately many discoveries start to happen. Material becomes so heavy when wet—we have to re-examine the construction of several garments to stop them falling off as the actors climb out of the pool! We have deliberately constructed one pair of pumpkin breeches so that they will fill with water and float and they work very well, but we didn't expect the other breeches to absorb and hold so much water. There are simple solutions to all of this, and the garments start to take on a structure and shape of their own after they have been soaked and then dried multiple times, which is incredibly exciting to work with.
There is then just time to run through the show a couple of times before we welcome our first audience.