Clearing the first fence

Posted on: September 20th, 2010 by Trevor | No Comments

Rehearsals for Raising The Stakes got underway in style today with a cracking readthrough.  We’ve got a brilliant cast for the second play in our racing trilogy: Ray Spencer and Angela Szalay return to their roles as Bob and Shirley and this time they’ve been joined by three other actors that we’ve enjoyed working with before. Jill Dellow, who was in Son of Samurai, is playing their daughter Suzie, Arabella Arnott, who was in the Durham production of Maggie’s End,  plays Shirley’s sister Dolores and Louis Roberts, who appeared in a rehearsed reading of our work in progress God Only Knows, plays the mysterious lodger Clark.

Team bonding had actually started the night before when we all met up for some cast photos and then went for a curry at the Customs House along with director Mark Wingett, production co-ordinator Jackie Fielding and set designer Mike Yeaman. Sadly Louis was unable to join us on the Sunday night due to a family bereavement, hence his non-appearance in the photo above.

Anyway, back to today. We’re rehearsing in a new venue for me, the upstairs room of the Sun Dial pub in South Shields. It’s a very handy spot with plenty of room for manoeuver.  Sometimes a readthrough can be a bit laborious as the cast find their way through an unfamiliar script and there’s a bit of a start/stop feel to the whole thing, but not today. It zipped along very nicely and there were lots of laughs, which is very reassuring for the writers. We’ve edited the play since its first run so it was nice to see that the changes seem to work and if anything we’ve added pace to a play that was already pretty frenetic.

Ed and I will now make ourselves scarce for a few days to give everyone a chance to experiment without the writers breathing down their necks. We’ll probably pop in towards the end of the week to see how things are shaping up. Mark and Jackie have already come up with a few new ideas to freshen things up so I’m sure we’ll be in for a few pleasant surprises.

Louis’s got a pretty busy week as not only is he rehearsing for Raising The Stakes during the day but he’s also starring in Apples at Northern Stage in Newcastle until Saturday. I’ve heard great things about the play and will try and get along later in the week.

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