Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 6

Honey we’re Home!

Tech week always makes my heart beat a little faster and harder because it means we’re getting closer to finally sharing it with audiences. What will they think? Will they love it, hate it, laugh at the jokes, be touched by the tender moments or will they *blink blink scratch heads* at the whole thing? You just never know! I suppose that’s the beauty and curse of finally opening the doors to meet the unknown.  We’ve been working hard though and it feels so good to meet our gawjuss set in all its glory and enjoy the splendours of the design elements coming together to sprinkle gold dust on what has been achieved so far.

Songs have been changed, text has been slashed and new text inserted, movement has been tightened up, costumes have been poked and prodded – no stone has been left unturned. Everyone’s battered but the commitment to Junkyard continues to drive everything forward. It’s been a tough week and there’s been a fair few changes but nothing has been in vain.

The actors have been absolute stars and I always think of them as a sort of breed of demi-god because the stamina and strength demonstrated has been..well godly lol… Still they experiment, still they remain fully focused and highly charged, still they have fun and look out for each other. They have worked so hard and I’m sure that everything that has been achieved from the 16th of January till now will reap its full rewards. Previews are about to come thick and fast and Press Night forever looms but of course this will only be the beginning. As the weeks pass and the show continues its journey on to Theatr Clwyd and The Rose, Kingston more discoveries will be made and the production will continue to grow and soar. I’m pleased that I’ll be witness to it all.

It’s been so lovely to share a few thoughts over this period and I’ll be sad to say goodbye *sniff sniff.* But it’s time to give birth. One final push and we’ll soon be holding a new baby in our arms:

….Her name is JUNKYARD…

Michal xx

Written by Michal Keyamo
Originally published at: https://headlong.co.uk/work/junkyard


Bristol Old Vic’s Spring Season continues with Junkyard 24 Feb-18 Mar. For more info and to book tickets, click here.

Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 5

I can’t believe how quickly these last few weeks have flown by. It feels like only yesterday when we all met for the first time at the meet and greet and now here we are. We have a show on our hands people! 🙂

As last weeks usually go there has been a lot of activity – The musicians joined us for most of the week to rehearse all of the songs and embed them within the scenes; a day was dedicated to hair cuts/dyes and styling (honestly, it felt like Stars in Their Eyes!). We changed and tightened the movement and worked the transitions to make them slicker and more interesting; we had an afternoon of filming for marketing.  Goodness, this week definitely required good organisation. I have to give a shout out to our DSM Jen who has managed the room fantastically with its constant comings and goings (with my help obviously 😉 *cough cough*).

We had our first stagger-through which was really useful for everyone. Jeremy has worked hard with the company on individual scenes so it was great to start pulling all the scenes together into bigger chunks stopping only to tweak bits and pieces. It was great practice for the company and great for us as Creatives to see the full picture. We then dived into our first run through (Eeek!)  joined by a few extra guests from Headlong and I’m glad to say that  it went really well.

Now call me a nerd but I love making notes. I love Detail. Detail Detail Detail. If I could marry Detail I would Lol. But what I love more is when actors implement notes given and you see performances taken to the next level because of those finer details. This was definitely the case when we had our second run-through on Friday which in a way felt like a bigger event –  maybe because it was the final run-through before heading down to Bristol or maybe because we had a larger audience courtesy of the production’s co-producers, which can be completely nerve-wracking but is a necessary stage in any rehearsal process. What is certain though is that everyone Stepped. Up. Their. Game. Listen, if this is what we’re working with at this stage I have no doubt that everyone will knock it out of the park when the show finally kicks of in T – minus 4 days.

Bye Bye London. Hello Bristol. Tech. Previews. Press Night. Here we go!

Speak soon!

Michal x

Written by Michal Keyamo
Originally published at: https://headlong.co.uk/work/junkyard


Bristol Old Vic’s Spring Season continues with Junkyard 24 Feb-18 Mar. For more info and to book tickets, click here.

Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 4

“We’re cooking now” – the perfect statement to round up week four of rehearsals (thanks Kevin) – and we really are cooking up a delicious pot of musical goodness. Every week we’re given new treats; a talented company, a rehearsal set, a trip to the Vench in Bristol and a new trailer. This week we were joined by our musicians and spent half a day, led by our composer Stephen, integrating the band and the company. I’m happy to report that they played nice. N’aww.

As for the rest of the week… we got through the whole play and by early next week – we will have gone through the play twice. We’ve been lucky to have had a five week rehearsal period because it’s meant that the scenes have been given the time and focus that they need. You know one thing that I love about rehearsals is the continuous discovery of story, key moments, character journeys and of the deeper meaning of songs.  There are various modes of storytelling in this production and with the time given we’ve built a strong language – it’s been such a pleasure to be a part of its unfolding.

I can’t wait to share more about costumes. Everytime I go into the production office, I sneak a peak at the rail of clothes – teasing me from the corner of the room – and try and guess what belongs to whom. At least I have a permanent reference by way of fashion vision boards in the rehearsal room to give me a taste of what each character will look like. No doubt, the costumes will play a big part in providing a strong contextual basis for the era in which Junkyard is set, which is important I think – Looking at the ‘then’ to take into the ‘now.’ It will also be interesting to see how the actors transform when they put their characters’ threads on. I have no doubt that they will wear the clothes and not let the clothes wear them. I butchered that quote but you get my drift.

Anywho, week five, the final week in London before heading to Bristol for tech and Press Night. It will be another week of hard-work, discovery and teamwork. *Rubs hands together* Let’s go get’ em.

Michal x

Written by Michal Keyamo
Originally published at: https://headlong.co.uk/work/junkyard


Bristol Old Vic’s Spring Season continues with Junkyard 24 Feb-18 Mar. For more info and to book tickets, click here.

Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 3

What I really love about this production is it’s rhythm and groove – and rightly so! It is a musical after all. So it was quite a treat to start the week with a groove session to see what types of rhythms were waiting to burst out of everyone – which was a’plenty. Stephen and Musical Director Tayo continued to work hard with the company incorporating songs into Jeremy’s staging-process. It’s amazing to see how the songs lift off and extend within the space; Stephen is truly excellent at what he does and his ability to ease the company into unfamiliar territory has been a pleasure to watch. Well done to the company for being able to absorb all the information so far!

This week I’ve been on top of the logistics of the production keeping tabs on what goes where and when and for how long. We’re getting more slick and keeping the communication channels flowing has been instrumental to our success. There’s a nice chilled vibe this week and it’s been interesting to watch Jeremy work with the actors and demonstrate his ability to communicate his ideas with flexibility, flair and (my favourite word again) fun. Every line is met with precision and detail and the actors are encouraged to try things out and go with their instincts. I like this visceral approach!

We’ve also been working hard to use every nook and cranny available on the set and we’ve explored dynamic ways to present the locations within the production.  It made me think about how much a set can be a character in it’s own right offering so many choices. With so much inspiration around it’s no wonder the creative juices have been flowing and ideas have been firing from all corners of the rehearsal room. It’s been an exciting collaborative experience and everyone’s committed to Jeremy’s vision.

The week has flown by yet again. We ended the week with a Saturday morning session with our movement director working on getting those moves super sleek. I have a really great feeling about this production and I hope that audiences who come and see the show really feel the energy and love that has gone into it.

Until next week!

Written by Michal Keyamo
Originally published at: https://headlong.co.uk/work/junkyard


Bristol Old Vic’s Spring Season continues with Junkyard 24 Feb-18 Mar. For more info and to book tickets, click here.

Junkyard Rehearsal Diary – Week 2

WHAT a week it’s been! We’ve officially set up camp and are getting our boots muddy. There’s a lot to do but we’re doing it with a lot of positive energy, focus and my favourite word – Fun. The music is becoming more and more goose-pimply and the movement and choreography is helping to support the journey of characters and the mood of scenes. AND we have a new edition to the Junkyard family – a spanking new rehearsal set to play with…and she’s Gawjuss. Yaass! *finger clicks*

So! Monday morning started off with a grand tour of the rehearsal set by our production manager, Simon. We ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ and asked many questions before we were left to it. It was handy that Simon put markings on the floor to have a clear idea of the three spaces we’ll be performing in – Bristol Old Vic, Theatr Clwyd and The Rose Theatre in Kingston. It was also very informative to have our designer, Chiara Stephenson, in the room this week to shed some light on her vision. So much to take in but our director Jeremy is committed to honouring each element of the production: Stephen’s music, Chiara’s vision for the set and Jack’s words.

There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing words come to life and Jeremy wasted no time in getting scenes up on their feet and getting the company comfortable navigating their way around their new home. It’s always so interesting to see how many layers can be revealed when you have the opportunity to feel it in the moment. The cast are already taking risks and making good choices and it’s nice to see our characters becoming more distinct as time goes by. What’s really useful about having a rehearsal set is that we have had the chance to explore the different modes of storytelling, as well as how to best represent different locations.

Speaking of locations, on Wednesday we filmed a trailer for the show at Oasis Gardens Adventure Playground in Stockwell (where I grew up. Zoop! Zoop!). It was so much FUN. It was the first time the company had been in costume; it was like walking into the 70’s. I almost wanted to run home, dig out my disco pants and purchase a purple afro. The company were sure troopers! Despite the cold, the energy was high, there was lots of laughing and joking, shaking and jiving. I won’t say too much about the trailer as I don’t want to spoil the fun but it should give a flavour of what’s to come. Next week we’ll carry on with staging the show, working with props and begin our costume fittings.

Our world is taking shape, and as we continue to unpick and examine the text the more layered the production becomes.

Written by Michal Keyamo
Originally published at: https://headlong.co.uk/work/junkyard


Bristol Old Vic’s Spring Season continues with Junkyard 24 Feb-18 Mar. For more info and to book tickets, click here.