| Inside the Rehearsal Room

Week Four, Day Four

There’s a different energy in the rehearsal room today as the move to the theatre approaches. The atmosphere is even more focused, as everyone concentrates on refining the work done over the past four weeks.

Composer and Sound Designer Alex Baranowski is present to start integrating his score and soundscape – incorporating wind, sea, etc. – with the performance. Michael is keen to introduce the above to the rehearsal room, and in particular to play the cast the music used in the scene changes – ‘So you can feel it’. They listen to the haunting music that marks the transition from scenes eight to nine.

The cast then run Scene Nine, starting with the movement out of the previous scene. Afterwards Michael offers his thoughts: ‘It’s thrilling when we go at that pace. It’s so satisfying for us, the audience, to have to do the work and catch up. Let’s just go back on a couple of tiny things, though. One or two little reminders.’ He asks individual actors to pick out certain words – ‘I’m missing it, help us there’ – or he’ll say, ‘Question: Have you, Kate, been listening?’ (In response to Billy’s line, ‘Was you listening, Aunty Kate?’) He encourages Dan not to ‘go too into yourself’ on that line. To another actor, Michael comments: ‘Take out the pause there – don’t let the audience in. We were firing on that, keep picking up the cues.’

actor during theatre rehearsals
Daniel Radcliffe during rehearsals for The Cripple of Inishmaan. Photo: Marc Brenner

He also wants to ‘tidy up’ some blocking. ‘The staging of that doesn’t particularly work. To get the best out of that, is there a version where…’ And he’ll make a suggestion for re-blocking a moment or re-timing a cross. Michael’s not convinced by the attempt at an embrace between Eileen and Billy: ‘It’s just becoming a bit cutesy.’ He suggests it needs to feel more awkward – gestures of affection don’t come easily to these people.

Michael then reminds the cast that they’re ‘putting the first half together’ the following morning. ‘All I would ask is that you look over what you need to do in order to raise the game – tighter on lines, cues, etcetera – to up the energy and the play.’