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Posted on 14 July 2015

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Monday – Start Time: 10:00 – Munch: Feta, Beet & Butternut Salad w. Banana – End Time: 17:00

Funny how it’s only ever Monday morning when actors can be arsed to stretch out … I wonder what people were up to on the weekend that inspired such an exertion? BOOOOZE PROBABLY

Today was a tiring day.. We were forewarned that this day would come..

The Kitchen at the Hotel X!

The most frantic, energy-gobbling scene of the play and we tackled it on a Monday!

Whereas our other frantic scenes are based around the pacey movement of set, The Hotel X is all about bodies. Chefs and porters and waiters weaving in and around a steaming hot kitchen as poor old Orwell finds his feet.

We started playing with the idea that the kitchen moves around Orwell, leaving him centre stage, but soon realised this gave him too much power. THIS IS OUR KITCHEN!

Our next gambit was far more exhausting for poor Dickie (Orwell). We then devised a motion for the kitchen that forced Orwell to be constantly left behind his work. As the other kitchen staff carefully maintained the cookers and prepared for service, the kitchen whizzed away from Orwell as he chased after it. This constant movement perfectly portrays Orwell’s description of the Kitchen in his book; a hellish bedlam.

We are devising Orwell’s Hotel X and Toynbee’s Hospital to exits together onstage. To create this over-lap we played a lot with pace; having Toynbee’s world plunge Orwell’s into slow motion. Polly appears tugging a wheel chair through (what were) the Kitchen doors, then suddenly the frenzy of the Kitchen is hauled in; like a silent movie reel on too slow of a rotation. The moment, Polly leaves again, The Kitchen erupts back into life.

This complicated and exhausting work took all day. We had to devise two distinct kitchen scenes and how Polly could fit into them, along with a number of cheeky wee interludes that bring the sections together.

The final scene we touched on today was the Bistro. This is a scene that proceeds the Kitchen madness and, believe you me, that final collapse in front of (imaginary) bottles of wine was a very real bliss.

It’s great to be back in the rehearsal room.

Big day, big dreams, Big Ben, Other Big Things. I DON’T KNOW, DO I!

Much love and see you all soon!

Tuesday – Start Time: 10:00 – Munch: Chef’s Italian Chicken Salad w. Banana – End Time: 17:30

Today was cracking! A very different kind of progress.

We reflected a lot on what we had already achieved and started moving through the beginning of the play in a more conventional style.

Time was of the essence. We had to find out if we had enough actions for the words and, more often than not, enough words for the action. Time was also key with regards to turnaround; does everyone have enough time to change? Or collect props? Or breathe?

We managed to “perform” the first third of the play; transitions and all! HAVE AT YOU!!

That’s twenty minutes of bustling Paris, interspersed with Modern London, and on average that’s three characters each, four props, one bed move and a backflip (kidding). Overall, it’s a section packed to the brim with exciting theatrical goodness.

The mood was great today. We started with an almost hysterical set of warm-up games; nothing out of the ordinary, we just found it really funny… YUP

It is so affirming to see everything come together as it did today. It’s hard to convey the transition from spending half a day on twenty seconds of stage business, to watching all that hard work actually fly by in twenty seconds.. and work! It’s really awesome.

P.s – ten points if you can work out where we eat every day…

Big love!