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Day Two- Socially Distancing

November 30, 2020
Saves on make up! Nigel & Molly Sheehan

First day at work in a very long time- back in Pantoland! In previous panto first day rehearsals you would congregate, drink coffee, eat pastries, hug and mwah old friends and complete strangers, then start blocking. Its a new era now.

On arriving I had my temperature taken and noted on a clip board, then socially distanced “parish notes” from our Panto director, Owen Smith and from Sally Polden the Theatre Manager- we are told about the safety measure in place for us as a cast, to avoid congregating- The Green Room is no longer a place where actors meet and chill- things of the past.

You have your own chair in rehearsals, props (only handled by yourself) are cleveley found in our individual named boxes, and if any are handed offstage, they are cleaned and replaced. You can rehearse in your mask if you wish, and all blocking follows a “One Way ” system both on stage and backstage. It all feels very well thought through and adheres to the rules.

Owen Smith Director & choreographer, assisted by Joselyn Prah

Owen Smith our director is a long time performer here at the Kenneth More- in fact both Owen and Jocelyn Prah, his assistant were in the 2009 “Snow White” I did here.

We rehearsed in the studio here at the Kenneth More, and when not required the upper foyer, which is spacious, gave us all room to learn lines, work scenes and keep ourselves distanced. I do most of my scenes either solo, or with Karl Greenwood- he plays my son, Muddles. You only have to put actors together for a few minutes, and you discover all the people you know and have worked with. Karl worked in The West End with Niki Evans, my mate from Panto in “Blood Brothers”.

Robert Anthony & Darren Hart

Darren Hart plays the Wicked Queen’s Henchman- I’ve seen Darren in pantos at Hackney Empire and Stratford East, as well as seeing him here last year in “Sleeping Beauty”. Our mutual pals include Susie Mckenna and Peter Straker! Playing The Prince is Robert Anthony, with Snow White played by Elizabeth Bright. Along with Michelle Bishop as Wicked Queen Melania, we will soon find out how many other pals we have in common!

Robert Anthony. Prince Louie

I have three scenes in Act One, so after running through them a couple of times with Karl and Owen, I had plenty of time to meet up with Molly, who will be dressing me during this run. We were able to find time to go through the running order of the costumes (I have eight/nine changes this time around) and had time to sort out the Quick Change room- a small dressing room next to the stage that I will be using. Because of the new safety rules the “Side of the stage”purpose built “Quick Change” is not possible, and more time is allotted to change costume away from the wings. That’ll keep Molly and me on our toes, listening out for the cue!

Meet our Musicians- Harry Polden and Daniel King!

Michelle and Robert rehearse

I found time to sort out the dressing room (my much loved Number Two) upstairs, and thoroughly spray it with dettol to the point of ending up in the corridor to leave the stuff settle! Its now ready- the bulk of the costumes are all set up in the lower floor Quick Change Dressing Room. I have a LOT of space!

Thanks to Technical Manager Ben, and Stephen Barrows the costumes were brought over from the KMT store, and it actually feels like Christmas! It must be the sequins and glitter, but it really was a very productive day- and the arrival of two enormous Christmas trees into the foyer of the theatre re-inforced that Christmas feel!

Tomorrow- Meet the Ensemble- Calum Balmforth, Chris Macormack, Lucy Lewis and Rosie Polden- and the true heart of Snow White- The technical crew!

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