Posted: 2020-05-20 12:00:00
Yesterday was our first Birdsong Online company read through. We read through the play. Most of the time nobody really likes the experience. The actors are nervous, the director talks too much, everyone says how ‘excited’ they are, drinks too much coffee and shares the smallest of talk about mutual friends, “Do you know such and such?”. It is a theatre ritual full of small rites of passage most of which serve only the purpose of making an ugly start.
Yet none of us had done a first read through on Zoom.
You can see below the screen shot as we were making our introductions. Charlotte and I said a few words and we all introduced ourselves trying not to talk over each other. You can’t for example ‘go around the circle’ because nobody knows who is next to who. As anyone using zoom (which is everyone) knows your screen looks different to everyone else's- people in different boxes.
So eventually we started reading. About 1pm. I was expecting it to be a little disastrous with internet and technologically phobic actors falling foul of each other. Yet helped by a few rehearsals on the earlier scenes it got off to a flying start and you could see flashes of how it might all just work rather well...
And then we got to the big set piece end of Act 1 and Liam (Liam McCormick playing Arthur Shaw) home studio literally fell apart, Tim (Tim Treloar playing Firebrace) started playing around in his kitchen/trench and everyone started realising how fine the line between farce and art is drawn. We staggered onto the end with a few purple patches and as Levi the German handed over the star of david on armistice day- Lt. Levi’s wife crossed the rubicon and loomed into shot delivering him an omelette no doubt to celebrate the armistice. Wilfred son of adaptor Rachel came in a pulled faces and made his opinions on the work known.
Then everyone clapped and said it was the best thing ever. Then went off to have a cup of tea and a cold shower.
Plus ça change.