A breath of fresh air.
There are a number of challenges associated with performing a play in the open air. The one that occupies the front of your mind is the possibility of rain. But for the last three months we have been watching the cloudless skies in Brighton and worrying that the reservoirs must be running dry. Rainfall in May and June was minimal. The first part of July was pretty dry too. But now?
The weather forecast for the next few days is for heavy rain interspersed with less heavy rain. Well, that’ll be fun!
Moving from the tiny stage of the Brighton Little Theatre to the enormous apron stage of the Brighton Open Air Theatre was a challenge in itself.
For example, only the bare minimum of furniture and props could be transported from one to the other and, once the stage had been vacuumed …
… they were laid out on the stage.
As you can see from the photo above, we now have acres of space to fill, not only on the stage, but also in the amphitheatre. (At the back of this photo you can see the houses on one of the busiest roads into and out of Brighton!)
Next, we needed to create a lighting and sound box to house all of the ‘techie’ stuff.
It was fortunate that we had a good number of servants and villagers to accomplish this. It was really not the sort of thing that I, as Mr Hardcastle of Hardcastle Hall, or my friend Sir Charles, would like to get involved with.
Fortunately, they were stalwart chaps and made a very good fist of it. Salt of the earth really!
Then, of course, the whole play had to be ‘re-blocked’- as we thespians call it! At the Little Theatre, you could cross from one side of the stage to the other in three paces. At the BOAT we have more space than we know what to do with, so we have to try and use it to best advantage.
And then there is the small matter of voice projection. We are all praying that there isn’t a stiff wind blowing from the sea for this evening’s opening night. If there is, there could be a lot of shouting going on.
And then, of course, what happens to the actors when they are not on stage or are waiting to come on? Well that’s where the self-assembly gazebo and the camping chairs come in.
Well, a gentleman has to have somewhere to keep his wig!
Wish me a broken leg!