In the second instalment of our Rehearsal Room series, Josh Liew tells us more about the different departments involved in the creation of Romeo & Juliet in Eastville Park Swimming Pool...
When I heard that there was a production of Macbeth in the Redcliffe Caves I was intrigued and knew I had to see it. Shakespeare’s plays are performed often yet the unique location was an instant attraction; especially as it was a Bristol landmark. This was my introduction to site-specific theatre and the innovative Insane Root Theatre Company.
So when I heard about a work experience placement with Insane Root’s Romeo and Juliet at Eastville Park Swimming Pool I jumped at the opportunity, applied and was lucky to be successful.
My week began with meeting the company, who were all so welcoming and I instantly felt the rapport of the team and the working environment was focused, fun and friendly. In the afternoon of my first day I was fortunate to go to the pool for a production meeting. This was the first time I had seen the location, immediately I could see how atmospheric the setting was and it’s potential to be transformed into fair Verona. The overgrown vegetation gives the pool a secret garden ambiance and the potential for levels within the stone structure form a natural arena. I realised that these adaptations of Shakespeare are enhanced by the unique locations and the company work to ensure that the play and settings are fused for a unique experience for the audience.
During the week I worked closely with the production’s stage managers Emmy Seal and James Lisk discovering what kind of tasks and responsibilities they had and I tried my best to support them. I helped create props for the show, such as handwritten letters and card packets and I learnt the process of setting up a props table.
The role also involved looking on the internet for online deals and sales for items we needed to buy for the production: radios, a watering can and a load of ponchos. I also observed discussions about the technical and practical decisions that need to be made. These illustrated the professionalism and diligence of the company and in particular their attention to detail, considering every aspect of the production such as lighting and wellbeing of the cast and audience.
On the Friday the company were based at the pool and it was fantastic to see the scenes being rehearsed in the space and how the location would add another creative dimension to the ultimate performance. Furthermore, it was great to see the dancing and music rehearsals as well as the acting. Meeting all the hard-working people in the company was a great opportunity; watching and aiding their creation opened my eyes to the dedication, energy and resourcefulness that is put into a production from all the team.
Working on a professional production has been a new experience for me and it was an amazing week. It gave me the opportunity to both observe and absorb the rehearsal process, giving me valuable insight into the industry of theatre – my aspirational career.
I am so excited to see the finished show and see everyone’s hard work culminate into a spectacular production. Definitely get your tickets now!