The first two weeks of rehearsal for Chalet Lines were spent in intensive work on the script – several drafts and re-drafts were discussed, argued over and generally held under the microscope by cast and director.
The third and fourth weeks have seen a transition to the staging of that script, with Madani and the actors working out their movements around Leslie Travers’ spectacular set. Much of the early work was concerned with the relationships between the characters, and how they might become a key to unlocking different ways in which the space could be used.
Meanwhile, the rehearsal room itself has been in something of a state of transition. Changes to the stage layout (marked out in coloured tape on the floor) have been made; costume fittings have produced a rail of skirts and dresses to help the cast get used to what they’ll be wearing onstage; a small sound system has been squeezed into a corner so that music and sound effects can be played.
The Bush is in transition itself – the room which we’re rehearsing in was, until last month, a workshop space where sets were painted before being taken onto stage. In the next few months, it may be something else. The exciting thing about working in any new theatre building – and especially one converted from another use like this former public library – is the sense that there are creative possibilities waiting to be explored, even once the first productions have been mounted and something like a routine has been established.
As I write this at the start of the fifth and final week in the rehearsal room, yet another transition is beginning next door in the theatre – the set is being built, painted and prepared for the weekend, when we will move from our coloured tape lines on the floor to the real thing.