Back at the arts-interface after a quick break for sunshine. Feeling Well Thumbed, well read and well rude. & the Librarian’s trousers have arrived, so that’s all good.
Well, that’s the warm up; now let’s get into rehearsals.
Meet the man who is trying to give it some direction. Steven Elliott.
This is all it says in the Well Thumbed programme… Direction is by Steven Elliott, an Associate Artist at Theatre Clwyd, where he was assistant director to Terry Hands CBE. As actor or director his many credits include the RSC, the National Theatre and National Theatre Wales.
He knows his stuff, that’s for sure. & there’s so much more to the man/artist than that. He and Terry Victor (who plays the Well Thumbed Librarian/that’s him at the top of this blog) have acted together, a lot, in any number of pieces over the last twenty years (ish). They’ve developed that kind of trust that only grows in performance. Now, at last, this will be the first time that Steve has officially directed Terry.
There’s a lot of funny things going on in the Well Thumbed script. Some of it is just funny. Some of it is funny because we are laughing at it. Some of it is shocking so we laugh to protect ourselves. Then there are serious, lyrical passages of naked beauty. That’s lot of light and shade; a choir of voices. This text is rich.
You dive in and find your way but rehearsals are always an odd exercise. Learning to say words so that they sound honest and as if you are saying them for the first time. When to move, stand up, sit down. How it feels. Timing the laugh. Blending theatre, literature and stand up comedy. Is ‘stand up literature’ even a genre? Climb on this, drop that, sit there. Most of it is organic. Then again so are cats. & directing is a bit like that. Herding cats.
No!!! The Librarian’s trousers were mislabelled! They now need to be reordered and this time the suppliers promise they will apply a tape measure before putting them in the post. Could be the most excitement those trousers will ever know.
- At least the shoes fit.
Many actors build their characters from the feet up. Beryl Reid was famous for it. Shoes matter.
These are the Librarian’s Well Thumbed shoes. Classic, character-building, reasonably comfortable.
When the show opens in a month it will all have a bit more polish. That’s the joy of rehearsals.