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Monday & Tuesday- The Technical

December 3, 2014


Monday 1st December 2014
Usually the scenery arrives on a Sunday night, or a Monday morning. Here at the New Theatre the scenery was already in place and the lighting rigs, so we are able to go straight into Technical Rehearsals as from 2pm today.
Technicals are by their very nature slow and methodical- all the pieces of the jig saw come slowly into place- scenery and lighting, music cues and costumes- they all have to be worked until harmony is achieved, and of course safety.
We have a stage with actors and children and crew who are working next to pyrotechnics, scenic trucks and special effects- these need to be rehearsed and rehearsed until the director, Ian, feels it is secure.

We’ve been joined by the local dance school- The Juves as they always known in panto- or sometimes “The Babes”, and theyare in two teams of eight. That means each time a routine is rehearsed that involves them, it has to be rehearsed twice- once for each troupe, at the very least.

We started after a “Health And Safety” walkaround the set, with Philippa making everyone aware of where the explosions will be and how not to fall into the orchestra pit. That kind of thing!
Dressing rooms are allocated and in this theatre are all “Below Stairs”. Twenty Five years passed in a flash as I walked down the stairs. It looksthe same only blue. The phone booth is still there, where we used to queue up between shows with loose change in our hands to phone home! The phone has long gone, but the empty booth remains a bit like an abandoned Tardis!
Sherrie was a later arrival- she had a slight altercation with a mirror at home before setting off and ended up in A&E. She’s fine- they’ve sorted her hand out and she was given the OK to drive.
We started the technical at the top of Act One around about 3pm and carried on making our way through ActOne up to the cut-off time at 10pm.
Inevitably there are long waits and delays backstage, so people fill in the time sorting out their dressing rooms, and making them look a bit cosier, and more- well festive in many cases! James had totally established his dressing room, complete with his own fridge that he brought, and all his make-up was set out and ready for the off. Abanazar- Total Pro!
I was unuable to sort out the dressing room. Due to the large amount of scenery and trucks, my Quick Change area isn’t in position yet, and since I do all but two changes in the Quick Change, there’s no point in unpacking as it will all be moved up to the Stage Right Scenic Dock tomorrow. There are something like fourteen changes for me, so a dozen will take place in that Quick Change area, or in a few cases, at the side of the Stage.

I like it when a circle completes, when things come around because they are meant. I am just so hugely delighted that my dresser for the run here in Hull is Marion. Twenty Five years ago, when I was here last in “Cinderella” it was Marion who dressed me, and a lady called Nina who dressed Peter Robbins. Marion is completing that circle! How amazing is that! We are obviously both survivors of Pantoland. Do we get a medal for long service?
By ten o’clock we were up to the cave- the transformation from rocks to glittering cave pretty impressive- and Aladdin has his Quick Change into a “Joseph” style huge flying gold cape- that can wait until tomorrow.
Back to the hotel and had a small glass of pinot with Sherrie and Matt before turning in. Tomorrow we begin in the cave and work through to Act Two. Not bad for day one in the venue!

Tuesday 2nd November 2014
Called at 10am, and got the chance to go through the order of costumes with Marion and establish what we will be doing when the final Quick Change area is set up. I seem to have two spare costumes and the odd spare wig, but I’m pretty certain we won’t be adding extra scenes- what panto has ever run short on scenes!
Ian and Matt teched through the Cave and the full transformation- this also involves David as Genie- he has a big sing here, Rebecca and Sam fronting the scene with the full ensemble. The girls have some stunning fold costumes- very Folie Bergere, with red feather backpacks and headdresses- Sam changes into the costume with the scenery sized cape, and the two sets of children from the LWGS school of dance.
After a break we started from the top of act two- Abanazar’s song, with his minions bearing flaming torches- all very Gothic..and then the Grumbleweeds spot into my entrance.

In Act Two scene two I do my strip- but this scene preceeds it, so I wear a coat over the fourteen items I’m already wearing, and I assume the children think Twankey’s been eating all the interval pies? I meet my son Aladdin and his Elephant. Nelly. Its not often you type that into a blog I suppose.
Had a call from my mate John Evans, rehearsing the Llandudno panto- great to have a quick catch up and hear how they are doing!

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The strip was run through once, as it involves Johnathan on the Right Wing, Cat on the Left Wing and Marion behind the big screen centre stage. In one minute ten seconds all the clothes are gone, and we’re off to the next bit.
Before we finished we got nearly to the end of the Garden Wedding scene where true love conquers, David sings a nice song, and Twankey and the Empress get hold of a bottle and come out with some very two star Benidorm behaviour!

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Ian broke the rehearsal at 10pm. Call tomorrow is 9.45 in costume to continue where we left off. I believe the Quick Change room will be relocated tomorrow, and I may find we have a bit more space after that. At the moment I am in close proximity to a rickshaw and a sleeping Elephant- I love Pantoland!

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