The Light Burns Blue: Rehearsal Diary – Week 7

YOUNG COMPANY MEMBER kate alhadeff SHARES HER DIARY FROM REHEARSALS FOR THE LIGHT BURNS BLUE. scenes are blocked and polished, difficult cuts are made to the script and everyone is fitted with their costumes as performance week draws closer…

Intensive week begins with a mega warm up. The warm ups decrease in size over the week as we get busier and run out of muscles to stretch. Everyone is very motivated and focused because the trailer has been published, the tickets are selling, the rehearsals are running out and everything feels very real!

For the first part of the week, we mostly plough through blocking and polishing scenes and transitions. Music, props and set bring the scenes to life (honestly, it sounds beautiful) and anyone who isn’t working on a scene is hunched over a script learning lines. On Monday and Tuesday, much of the cast are allowed home early and a gloomy few held back to finish scenes – but it’s worth it because we are making serious progress.

Kate (right) in rehearsal for The Light Burns Blue. Photo by Justine Frost

Kate (right) in rehearsal with Jenny for The Light Burns Blue. Photo by Justine Frost

Jenny, Lisa and I start rehearsals an hour earlier, at 9am, to focus on the Elsie and Winifred scenes which punctuate the play. It’s a relief for us to already have a feel for our characters each morning by the time the rest of the cast arrive, but these scenes are very challenging as they show a slightly different side to Elsie and Winifred, so pinning down our characters is a bit of a struggle.

On Wednesday, everyone takes their turn to go and have their costume fitted by Max and his fabulous costume team. Naturally, this is extremely exciting for all of us. Costume really helps with characterisation because when you look like your character, you begin to move like them too. We also play an amazing game of Battleships in the Basement at lunch. Wednesday is a good day.

Kate Alhadeff in her costume fitting with Max Johns. Photo by Duncan Smith

Kate Alhadeff in her costume fitting with Max Johns. Photo by Duncan Smith

On Thursday we do a full run at 11am, which is frankly terrifying. The production is in a good place but the running time too long – which can only mean one thing. We need to kill our babies. Lisa and Silva sorrowfully withdraw to carry out the executions and the cast is informed at the end of the day. It’s horribly sad but we appreciate that it’s got to be done. I think what I struggle with most is that the audience will never see the play before the cuts. They’ll never appreciate the stress and hard work (of the writer, director and actor) that went into creating a scene or character which gets cut. They’ll never get to see the brilliantly funny (but not absolutely essential) scenes and lines that we as a cast had so much fun with and became so fond of.

It’s been a hell of a week, a hell of a term in fact, and the sheer passion that has been poured into this play is astonishing. We are all very attached to The Light Burns Blue and increasingly aware of how perilously near the end we are.

The Light Burns Blue plays in Bristol Old Vic Studio between 15-18 April. Book tickets here, and check back next week for another diary from the rehearsal room.

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