There’s more tech than we are used to.
This Christmas Carol has always been kinda low-fi, but it has also always responded to the people who are involved in making it. This year we have Adam as producer and director, and he’s a man who really knows his lights. I think he must own the little rig we have. Previous years have brought us the occasional birdie, maybe a fresnel, creative use of the house lights from time to time… Since we were at The Arts we haven’t had a rig even close to this one, and I can’t remember having the sort of lighting when I am comfortingly blinded and thus know that I’m in HD for the audience. It’s a lovely thing to have. But it means that the technical rehearsal is inevitably going to be long. There are things to plot. “LX is just plotting” is a familiar phrase for tech for big venues but I think this is the first time I’ve heard it for Carol.
We have built the show into a little outbuilding of L’Auberge du Nord. The northern inn. It’s up on the spine of the island, and they’ve been brilliant accommodating something perhaps quite unusual for the island. The Opera House has been shut down for two years. This place hasn’t had much theatre recently, and theatre in unusual spaces? Even less. They have a thriving am-dram scene, but this show has a high ticket price and doesn’t have your nephew in it. I reckon the remaining unsold tickets will go once we open. We sold well at the start but have slowed. By now everyone on the island knows somebody who is going in the first week. They’re waiting to hear it’s good and then there’ll be a feeding frenzy on the matinees.
The staff at the auberge practiced a service today. With Covid we aren’t using sharing platters. Everybody is plated up individually. It’s both simpler and more complicated. I think it’ll work well. It’s hard to tell until we’ve done it. I’m just going to let it pan out though because I’m just an actor in this when it comes down to it. All I can do is my bit and I know it works.
Sometimes in the past I’ve been involved in processes where people have pretended to be audience members so we can “practice” doing immersive theatre with them. I have never experienced anybody in those exercises who has ever behaved like real audience members. We can’t practice for the Jersey audience. All we can do is dress it, tech it and be ready.
It feels like we are ready. I’m curious. I honestly think that the reception and the nature of the audience we get will inform any decision I have pending about moving back here or not. Right now it’s just an idea I’m dandling with. If there’s stuff to be made and an audience for it … Game on.