Merchant of Venice Rehearsals Day 11

The role of AD differs between productions. Sometimes you’re more of a director’s assistant – many a fine hour have I spent in the company of a photocopier, my skills in that department are second to none. Sometimes you get to assist with the direction, contributing to staging and the like. It’s always a joy when the director communicates with you: tell you their plans for the day, ask for your opinion. Granted, the first time I was asked for mine by a director I came out with something like ‘Yes, well, hmm, I agree’, but nothing builds confidence like experience. The first few days with a new director are, for me, about getting to know them and their ambitions for the production. Once I have an understanding of these, I am more able to chip in, or not depending on the director. Someone once said to me that directors may just want an extra pair of eyes and ears, and when they want you, they’ll ask. Now our actors are off-book (learnt their lines) it’s one of my tasks to follow the text and supply any dropped lines. I also keep a rehearsal log, which I send to the production team, and write these missives. I might stand in for the stage manager in her absence, recording the blocking and creating a props list.

The responsibilities of an AD are rarely specified, part of what makes every job different. AD’s are not there to make tea, but I’ll do that too. There is, in my experience, an element of “pastoral support”, but good companies extend that to one another anyway.
Oh and I take the bins out at the end of every day. Now that is skill!

I hope you find our blogs interesting. Do join us one night at the Brockley Jack – it’ll be worth it.
NP

We have hit the ground running this week. Albeit in slow motion! We are on our feet and we have our set. The difference it makes is staggering. Like a giant anchor rooting all of us to it. It gives you a strange sense of freedom to be able to flit around it and use it. We have reached the stage where the good ideas are getting filtered away from the “not great” ideas, we have also lost some “not bad” ideas but that is just part of the process. To use an old cliche, we are throwing it at the wall to see what sticks. And what is clinging to the wall is making me very excited. It’s not just me, everyone seems to be filled with a buoyant enthusiasm. I cannot wait to keep exploring but it shows how important all of that preparation work is. In order to have the confidence and conviction to truly play/explore you need to be totally out of your head and if you are recalling lines or worrying about meanings of words then you don’t have a snowflakes chance in hell. This is a show that you really need to see because whether you love it or you hate it, it will certainly evoke something within you and will stay with you for a while. Like a dream almost. 
JM

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