Bernard Davies

Bernard’s Call Sheet for the Lost Season : Week 5

Bernard Davies issues a weekly schedule on Thursday for the following week. 

We’re keeping you up to date with what SHOULD have been happening. 

Backstage

Week 5 w/c May 18

ALFORD HOUSE, Vauxhall

Lots of costume fittings

Main Hall The end of Gioconda studio rehearsals is in sight; the all important final studio run takes place on Thursday. The last few days of rehearsals are spent running, running and running scenes/acts. The next day is the sitzproben, the first time the conductor, Gianluca Marciano, cast and orchestra all meet. When La Gioconda finishes La Bohème moves to the Main Hall. 

Lower Hall La Bohème have their full Company Meet & Greet with Peter Relton, the revival director. The original director, Stephen Medcalf, is busy with Gioconda. Bohème immediately starts work and by Friday it is crucial that the Act II chorus scene (Café Momus) is tackled because the chorus is also working on Gioconda in the opera house. Bohème children begin their music calls. At the end of the week the Lower Hall is no longer required and the hired piano is sent home.

St Stephen’s Church, Vauxhall The chorus continue with the final few Litvinenko music calls, however, now they must be singing from memory. 

The Gym Meet Me final studio run is on Wednesday and the full Company move to the opera house for stage rehearsals (piano stages) from Friday to Sunday. BD sends everyone a full theatre Welcome Pack, which gives directions to the opera house (by car and public transport), facilities at the opera house in way of dressing rooms, catering and the all important Wifi accessibility. 

THEATRE IN THE WOODS

The wardrobe department of four and wigs staff of two are run off their feet organising last minute changes to costumes/wigs and setting up dressing rooms. The crew are busy preparing the stage ready for the Creative Team and cast to arrive. Head of Stage, Dec, and the Production Manager ensure the stage and set are fully compliant with Health & Safety regulations.  

Meet Me in St Louis Friday, forecasted as a glorious sunny day, BD will meet the Company, for those driving, in the carpark 90 minutes before the start of the two long sessions on stage.  A tour of the site is usually given resulting in an air of excitement, and disbelief, as the Company snake their way through the house, gardens and orchard. When the Theatre in the Woods appears there is a gasp of amazement and rightly so.  Those coming by public transport are met on the public footpath and escorted to the opera house. They also have a tour of the house and gardens with just as many open mouths of amazement. 

Day 1 onstage is extremely busy as everyone learns to find their way around backstage, sort out their costumes/make up and remember how to find the stage. A vital Health & Safety talk is held on stage conducted by BD and the stage manager. The Company are informed of emergency evacuation procedures, stage awareness and reminded NO electrical equipment is allowed onstage.  Over the course of the next 3 days the company rehearse from the top of the show, in full wigs/costume/makeup and slowly work through the entire show with the added technical elements of lighting, costume changes and set moves, culminating in a full non stop run of the of show ready for the orchestra to join soon.

Having the Meet Me in St Louis cast in the building creates an air of excitement.  

Site set up The mammoth task of preparing the house and grounds for the season begins. This week we aim to:

  • Catalogue all the contents of the rooms in the house and clear away
  • Take delivery of a utility buggy to transport tents / furniture around the site
  • Start to erect the picnic and Orchard Marquees
  • Erect small storage tents for potwash area, laundry and bar
  • Clean the cellar in the house for delivery of wine & champagne
  • Move wire furniture into the gardens.
  • Visit Chilworth Manor to collect the first batch of Rosé
  • Put out road signs (so the cast can find the theatre)
  • Spruce up and paint the tea tent table, dresser, bar
  • Begin the massive task of erecting the 26 indian pavilions. The tent-keeper Michael Sennett has an army of helpers which he splits into groups of 8. The goal is to have all the tents erected by 24 May