The Caretaker Rehearsal Diary – Week 2

With The Caretaker rehearsals heating up, here Assistant Director Chino Odimba fills us in on all the latest happenings as our powerful adaptation of this 20th Century classic takes shape.


The Caretaker - Rehearsals - Photo by Iona Firouzabadi -7852.jpg

12 coffees, 4 cakes and 2 broken pencils later…

Following on from a great start of rehearsals ‘interrogating the text’, we have moved onto the next part of the process – what it means to bring a story alive on stage.

‘Getting it on it’s feet’ is one of the first terms I learnt in a rehearsal room. And it does exactly what it says on the tin! This is the action of getting actors to start to work with the play and see what movements, stances, intonations, energy each line of the play may require. It can be a lot of fun because it allows actors to come at their characters in as many different ways as possible – and that way get to know their characters more. Every character has his/her way of walking, talking, and even staying quiet. Getting it on it’s feet is our way of starting to work this out.

But this is where you really understand the work of an actor. To take words, (usually at this stage holding a script in their hand) and try to make sense of the world of a play (more on this later!), and a character whilst at the same time trying to get your brain to read and remember the words is as tricky as it sounds! I watch in awe at our cast doing just this.

Pic 1Jonathan Livingstone who is playing Aston in the play, starts to think like his character and when handed a box of plugs by the stage manager, Lara, he silently goes about ordering the plugs into neat rows. All broken but somehow ordered. I feel like this sums up his character so beautifully…

I run over to take a pic!

Pic 2

And this is how we have spent most of the last few days, trying out different ways of approaching the scenes, and trying to get a better understanding of what the play could be about.

As part of understanding the language of his character, David Judge who plays Mick wants to tighten up the language of his character, so we bring in a voice/dialect coach, I sit in the room with them, as they make strange noises, and explore how the character might speak, and what that tells us about Mick.

By the end of the week, we’ve gone through the whole play in a ‘draft’ version of the staging.  Cast look happy, and director Christopher Haydon seems pleased with progress.

Getting it on it’s feet has been a real eye-opener. Even with the random props, no lighting or sound design, you can almost see what the play might become – and what audiences coming to Bristol Old Vic in just over 3 weeks might get to see.

There is now talk of costumes… we pin ideas on the board…I might give you a little sneak peek next week.

Until then…book your ticket!! This is going to be special.


The Caretaker opens at Bristol Old Vic 9-30 September. For more information and to book tickets, click here. 

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