| Rehearsal Diary

Week Two

Time is flying! How have we reached the end of week two already? We start on Monday at the top of the play and slowly work our way through it, adding more detail as we go. Michael asks the actors questions as we discover the different layers of these characters and really work out who they are.

We’re also joined this week by our understudies and I begin separate understudy rehearsals with a readthrough of the play so we can hear our actors’ voices in their various roles. In our company, members of the original cast are also understudies, so some have at least two roles to learn. Our understudy company members have up to four roles to learn. 

In the main rehearsals with Michael we go through the whole play a second time with new discoveries made each time, the characters becoming more rounded and three-dimensional. There is still much more to find but I love this part of the process because the detail begins to emerge. 

guns and rope props
The Lieutenant of Inishmore technical rehearsals. Photo: Marc Brenner

Towards the end of the week we have a morning focused on, what we call in our schedule, a ‘Gun Workshop’. This is where we’re visited by the show’s Armourer, Mark Shelley, who tells us some interesting facts about guns and then speaks to each actor in turn about how their character would hold a gun, or what type of gun they might use, in 1993. Mark is also in charge of the show’s special-effects so we take him through some of the blocking we’ve already devised and he makes suggestions as to how we can get the best results with what is available. Our Fight Director, Kate Waters, also joins us so it’s a wonderful morning of collaboration and discovery.

two men seated
The Lieutenant of Inishmore rehearsals. Photo: Marc Brenner

This week we also spend time getting to know each other. The whole cast is from Ireland so Michael asks them to tell us a little bit about where they’re from, letting us see it by placing a pin on a map. We soon realise that our company comes from all over Ireland. We discuss the difference in accents and Michael asks for a fact from each of them. It’s a really lovely moment and feels like it cements the already strong bond the company is forming with each other.

We end the week with a day of understudy rehearsals where we mark-out the blocking for the whole show so that when we come back together we can layer detail on top. I can’t wait to add this in the coming weeks.