A Tribute to Carol Burns

Last night there was a gathering at the Playhouse Theatre to honour the memory of a great member of the artistic community. I was one of many who spoke of Carol’s life in the theatre, and of our friendship which began as young actors in the founding years of Queensland Theatre Company.

This is what I said. Continue reading “A Tribute to Carol Burns”

Enter the final cast member: Previews and Opening Night Performance

It’s often said that the play is not complete until the house is ‘in.’ Saturday night – Preview 1 of 4, and the first audience arrives to test our waters. We are very ready for them – craving them; comedy especially needs the feedback of laughter to assist the tempo and attack of playing. The very ‘liveness’ of stage work is one of the reasons actors love and fear it so much – acting without a safety net will test, but its rewards thrill as no other. Continue reading “Enter the final cast member: Previews and Opening Night Performance”

Week 6: Tech, dress, and finger tingles

Where do I begin …

So much has happened since the time, earlier this week, when I wrote about leaving the safety and comfort of our rehearsal room. It’s involved the scary but necessary transitioning of an organism – the living, breathing, moving play – into a new space. In fact, it’s an evolution of sorts. And it’s involved not just the artefact of the rehearsed action of the play, but the evolution of all of of us involved in the making of this thing which is in the throes of becoming ‘a production.’ Continue reading “Week 6: Tech, dress, and finger tingles”

Backstage Rhythm

There’s another kind of orchestration happening in the backstage area. It has a rhythm of its own, conducted by the Stage Manager, and one never heard out front.

I sit waiting in the wings during tech rehearsals and listen to the sounds around me – music and sound effects, the gentle rumble of stage machinery, whoosh and click of scrim drops, motion of the actor’s feet, onstage voices, and the cue calls orchestrated by our Stage Manager, Peter Sutherland.

Pete’s resonant voice is calm, focused, and in tune with the show’s momentum. I swear he is timing his standby and go cue calls to the beat of Tony Brumpton‘s (and Giuseppe Verdi‘s) music and the play’s ambient sound effects. It is wonderfully reassuring.

Goodbye rehearsal room … hello theatre

Yesterday we said goodbye to Rehearsal Room 1 at Queensland Theatre Company. It’s been our cosy playroom since just after Christmas when we came together to begin work on QUARTET. It’s into the Playhouse at QPAC tomorrow and the start of tech week.

Image: Stephen Henry Photography via QTC
Image: Stephen Henry Photography via QTC

This means getting used to a new space; those green (Act 1) and yellow (Act 2) tape markups on the floor will become real levels and walls, doors and other objects to accommodate – although we’ve worked with real furniture and stand-in props. We’ll swap rehearsal gear for costumes and makeup and all the other ‘body-masking’ add-ons that assist in transforming actor to character. Continue reading “Goodbye rehearsal room … hello theatre”

Week 4 – the gears are clicking

Waking early today into the light in the sky. It’s high summer and my diurnal rhythms seem to be in sync with the bigger picture. Eyes open, into awareness, and the low-level adrenaline that’s come to be part of my life, kicks into play. I’m grateful for a day off for the light domestic duties, a spot of gardening, and a catch-up with the small screen entertainment. This helps to calm the mind and restore some balance after a week that has been one of the most intense so far in the rehearsal period. Continue reading “Week 4 – the gears are clicking”