Although rehearsals don’t resume for another six days, the Hamletmachine switched into high gear today. It feels like the team accomplished more in 12 hours today than we did in a whole week’s worth of pre-January Hamlet-time. If that’s the case, we are on a good path to make some momentous strides between now and Jan. 28, our opening night.
Most of the heavy lifting went into set construction, with two teams working harmoniously in close proximity. Todd and Brent are the carpenters, and while they buzz-sawed in the background, cutting out spires for our archway or measuring planks to frame our grave, Sheila’s team of decorators swarmed the nooks and crannies of the stage, creating a marsh here, a crumbling wall there, and by the end of the day, endless grey obelisks looming over everything.
Being largely colour-useless, I stayed well back from the paint jobs, and instead concentrated on other aspects of design. First, a three-hour session with Clayton, our sound designer, confirming what our musical cues would entail, and having fun while choosing which distorted scream effect would be the most spooky (we went with “Devil bat scream”). Clayton has a bit more work to do, but the audio design is about 85% complete — a huge relief, when one is careening towards tech week with such a complex jigsaw puzzle of a show to sort out.
After all the construction and set-dressing had concluded for the day, I returned to the theatre to meet with Ken, our lighting designer. Ken has designed lights for pretty much every show in the Boardmore for as long as anyone can remember, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to throw him for many loops, but a part of me perversely hoped that he’d take one look at my unorthodox stage configuration and throw up his hands. Instead, our preliminary dialogue went more like this:
Me: I’m afraid I’ve blocked most of the side-lights. You may have to find some new spots to hang from.
Ken: Hmm…I’m just trying to think if there are any places I haven’t hung a light from yet.
Once I overcame my disappointment, we had a highly productive discussion addressing a range of esoteric and quintessentially Hamlet-ian subjects: how to create trees and rivers with light, how to shine light up through a grave, and which colours correspond to each of the Seven Deadly Sins. Also, fog. Lots and lots of fog.
Somehow, in midst of this hurricane of Dane, I also managed to do a props run and to approach a local florist’s with a sponsorship proposal (fun to see their expressions when I explained that we need all their dying flowers). Not bad, for a day’s work!