Posted: 2020-05-19 12:00:00
Charlotte (co-director) and I spent the day entirely on Zoom battling with actors phones, backgrounds and family members interrupting them mid scene. We were joined at various intervals by editor Tristan, designer David and costume designer Siobhan Boyd and then they popped off and we went back to dodgy internet connections and just sometimes we even managed to get down to some acting.
It is a slightly surreal experience which manages just like a real rehearsal to leave you completely bleary eyed and slightly weary of mind by the end of the day. It’s a long time to spend in front of a screen and I suspect it may take us all some time to adapt. It feels very alien right now. Very hard to communicate, to read body language and pick up on all the other non verbal signals all of which are tools crucial to any director.
What was exciting were the few moments when everything came to together and you could see glimmers of how this would all work. The day was spent looking at the scenes in 1910 when Stephen meets Isabelle and her husband. So we had some lovely virtual backgrounds sent over by David which at least meant our screen were full of nice pastel hues. The current plan is to contrast the dark, murky feel of the wartimes scenes with rich colour and light for the vividly remembered scenes set before the war.
Today we are gearing up for the big read through of Rachel (the adaptor) brand new version of the script.
Meanwhile we are getting ready to release the story to other publications. Journalists seem quite interested in the show which is a good sign- we are working with The Royal British Legion to help promote the show and as our designated charity.
All in all it’s an odd way to make a living, and never perhaps is that more keenly felt than at the moment. Tomorrow no doubt will feature many of the same rituals of any first day read through- there will be nerves, attempts at small talk, laughter and introductions. The director will make a speech which nobody listens to, although it may be easier online to spot those drifting off- which happened on one famous occasion as I tried to introduce Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good to the somnambulant snores of one of the actors. I didn’t wake him. He was in a better place.