Hound of the Baskervilles assistant director Francesca Tennant gives us an inside look at rehearsals with her weekly rehearsal diary.
The process of putting on a play is not unlike solving a mystery – a team of experts gather, search for clues, examine the facts, bounce ideas around and piece a story together.
Some days the facts tell a clear story, other days ambiguities or inconsistencies need to be wrestled with and turned over for reflection. Over time, the threads come together and clarity emerges. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing an overview of our rehearsal process of The Hound of the Baskervilles, an adaptation of one of the most well-known and loved Sherlock Holmes novels – but not as you might know it.
In the last blog I talked about how we were getting to grips with the scenes and working out all the different parts of the production that are in play - the furniture, props, elements of costume and sound. We started to give the scenes shape and worked our way through most of the play.
We are now in to week three of rehearsals and it has been a great week. We continued the work from week two and then went on to develop it. Early in the week we finished our first look at the second act. Knowing that we now had a rough shape for the whole play was hugely encouraging. We then started from the beginning of the play again, revisiting each scene, adding detail and depth, and finding the moments within the structure for play and experimentation.
The cast are incredibly talented and their ability to juggle so many elements, transform themselves into so many different characters and be an endless source of ideas and play is a joy to watch and work with.
We have also had fun working on some choreography. We started by learning some dance moves, in the style of the music. And then we tried improvising, the actors in character, putting the movements together in different ways, trying slightly different story scenarios, experimenting with who was leading and working with elements of the costumes. From these initial improvisations we choreographed something that I can’t reveal too much about but should hopefully take you by surprise and make you laugh.
By the end of the week, we had revisited most of the play building upon the foundations of the first two weeks’ work, adding flesh to the bones.
Next week we add the outer layers and focus on finessing details.