Henry V Rehearsals Day 11

It’s Monday 3rd November. You know what that means don’t you? The final countdown to P-Day!(Performance Day for those of you who haven’t seen my previous blog)

Frills and frocks have been cast off as the Lazarus soldiers file in from the harsh outdoors to the warmth of the barracks. There are no stray strands of hair and rouge in sight but instead, a sea of slicked back hair in tight buns, big solid boots and oversized and unfitting war clothes. The preparation for battle has begun.

To create the level of focus needed for this week, we played some intense focus games to get us back into the swing of rehearsals. These usually involve lots of balls of different sizes and weights being thrown at us. (No this isn’t a painful drilling exercise thank goodness!). In fact it requires so much generosity and communication between those involved; eye contact, receiving and throwing the ball accurately, indicating you are ready or not ready and ultimately keeping calm and confident when you have about eight balls being thrown across the same space. It sounds ridiculously easy but even when you think you are giving everything you can, the ball drops and everyone panics and you have to give more and work harder to get the rhythm back, exactly the same as if you are on stage.

Dora the explorer came back to haunt us again with Keepy-Uppy’s. Except this time she was pulling no punches and told us with a cruel cackle (through the medium of Ricky) that we all had to touch the ball at least once, keeping it in the air while hitting it towards the wall, then bouncing it onto the wall and back towards the other end of the room so it lands in a big box. Easy right? Oh we were the most awful rabble and had adopted such a strange spazzing like motion when the ball came to us that Colette, using her kingly leadership tactics in a very diplomatic way, told us that we were rubbish and if we wanted to do better we needed to pull our socks up. So that was the end of that. Also in our defence I must mention that out PB has gone from a dismal 30 odd to around 70 (give or take ten).

So now we were all ready and raring to go!! We then worked through to the end of the play, including one of my favourite scenes where Henry releases her frustration regarding the crushing burdens and responsibilities that are laid heavily ‘upon the king’. She questions the ceremony and ‘pomp’ of being a monarch and, on her own and far removed from her soldiers we get to see the the rust, the splinters, the questions, the poisoned chalice that is at first obscured beneath the gold, the gilt and the glittering jewels.

We were trying to decide where on earth Henry would actually be able to go, in order to stay close enough to camp but unheard and able to have a moment to herself. Naturally, being the intellectual geniuses that we are, the Toilets were a favourite choice, with Henry in one cubicle and Gloucester and Westmoreland either side patiently waiting for her to finish, knocking on the wall and perhaps asking for loo roll… I’m not sure whether this will stick but it’s all ideas at this stage…

So tomorrow we begin by staging the opening scenes and locking in all of those natural or well thought of ideas that have been slowly solidifying amongst the haze of play.

As your trusty scribe I shall of course let you know how we get on. Have a good rest, we’ve got a coronation to get totomorrow!!

L.G (8 days till P-Day…..)

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