Lovers and Liars : A David Garrick Double Bill
Luke De Belder
The stage is set, the lights are plotted, the actors are prepared, and there is less than a week until the first performance. As production week bears down upon us we are all gaining a more complete perspective on the result of the important detailed work that we have carried out this term.
In my first blog post for this process I quoted Brigid Larmour, who states: ‘I don’t tend to start with the grand scheme and then stick to that; I tend to look at the details […] and evolve the grand scheme out of that’ (Manfull, 1999: p.47). In hindsight, it is amazing to realise how organic this rehearsal process has actually been. One decision has lead to another in all aspects of the production. New ideas have provided exciting possibilities, and so the final product has grown into something greater than I could ever have imagined at the beginning.
Looking forward to the performances, John Wright states that, “Through laughter, we establish a reciprocal relationship with the audience” (2006: p.5). I cannot wait to see what reactions we receive from our audiences, and how this fuels the energy of the actors. This week we have been honing and refining this sense of a connection with the audience, and director Tom Wright has kindly worked with us in order to clarify the process by which we can enhance this “reciprocal relationship”.
Other rehearsals this week have involved running all of the scenes together on stage with the set and making everything as smooth and natural as possible. As we carry out more full runs, it is becoming ever clearer that, for all of the research and in-depth study we have undertaken, the chief aim of Garrick’s play was to entertain. The serious work has now brought us to a point where we can focus fully on this enjoyable target. Just as Noël Coward, after absorbing the Broadway performance style, “was determined now to energise the London theatre” (Morley, 2005: p.26), we are equally “determined to energise” the Scenic Stage Theatre. I hope that we can live up to Garrick’s “legendary energy” (Thomson, 2007: p.7), and put on the most entertaining production possible. I feel confident that we can.
Manfull, Helen. (1999). Taking the Stage. Methuen Drama: London.
Morley, Sheridan. (2005). Noël Coward. Haus: Great Britain.
Thomson, Peter. (2007). ‘Acting and Actors from Garrick to Kean’. In Jane Moody and Daniel O’Quinn (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre 1730-1830. Cambridge University Press: UK.
Wright, John. (2006). Why Is That So Funny?: A Practical Exploration of Physical Comedy. Nick Hern: London.