We were delighted to welcome Hannah LePoidevin to the company of Romeo & Juliet in Eastville Park Swimming Pool on a work experience placement for week one of rehearsals. Here's her exclusive behind-the-scenes peek into the rehearsal room....
I worked with Insane Root during the first week of the Romeo and Juliet rehearsals for work experience. I got to experience several backstage roles that are fundamental to a show, as well as having the opportunity to work with the amazing cast.
I arrived on my first day feeling nervous but very excited. The creative process of theatre is so intriguing, and this is especially true for an Insane Root production, with a characterful setting coupled with Shakespeare’s genius. Everyday started with a warm up led by a different member of the cast (after the first cup of tea of the day of course!).
A presentation of the set and ideas for costumes then preceded a first read through of the script and a discussion of key themes and ideas in the play. I then shadowed the designers as they started on making some of the props and furniture. This included a quick trip up the road to FabricLand and Ikea to buy fabric and a small army of coat hangers!
When we arrived back at the rehearsal room, the first of many singing sessions was well underway. Live music is one of the things that makes Insane Root so unique, and with songs that tell both of the joy of love and the sorrow of death, decorated by weaving harmonies and intricate rhythms, the rehearsals promise an emotional and heart breaking immersive experience for the audience.
The first day was completed with a trip to the swimming pool for the first time. The cast were so excited by the space, running around, shouting to each other and climbing all over the walls and trees, obviously very enthusiastic for the performance.
The next day I was shadowing the Deputy Stage Manager, so the morning started the three-day-long read through and detailed discussion of the script with more singing in the afternoon. I also had a chance to help research some of the historical context of Romeo and Juliet.
The third and fourth day followed a similar pattern although I also got the chance to go to the prop store, a massive storage room filled with every prop imaginable, from fake flowers and fake books, to stacks of tables and piles of chairs and thrones.
The movement director also started to workshop the world that would be created for the audience as they enter the swimming pool.
The final day was very different to the others. The first costume fittings were done for every character, whilst at the same time more singing rehearsals were happening (these ended up being in the kitchen!) and the fight director was choreographing the fights. They experimented with weapons, and how different motives for the murders can create very contrasting fights and feelings for the audience.
I am so upset that my work experience has come to an end as it was such an amazing, unique opportunity, with an enthusiastic and energetic cast and crew, however I can’t wait to see the final show with all the music, dancing, fighting and the genius of Shakespeare’s text unified in the amazing location of the swimming pool and brought to life by the raw passion and joy of the incredible cast.