With previews in full swing and opening night just around the corner, Associate Director Marc Atkinson has been kind enough to offer us another update from inside the Great Gatsby rehearsal process.
Short update this week as I run out of tech before one of our previews begin – it’s all go here. All week people have been telling me that they feel like they’re working on a film set. They’re not wrong. As we start to put together the final aspects of Gatsby, it’s extraordinary to think how much has changed in the building over the last few weeks. You won’t recognise the place!
Rehearsing a show that takes place in multiple locations requires a completely different approach, and we’ve been working on radio to coordinate all the aspects of the production that have to occur simultaneously. It’s virtually impossible to rehearse sections of this show in isolation, so the team have to each track different parts of the story every time we run it. Then we all meet up after and compare notes, figuring out how what happens in one area of the building affects action in other rooms, and making sure all the storylines match up.
What’s been most interesting in the last few days is the chance to watch the show from start to finish multiple times. It’s so important that every audience member, regardless of which bits of the show they have seen, gets to follow the same emotional arc from beginning to end. We’ve been experimenting with how sound and lighting can support the actors in leading the audience through this journey. It’s been fun to see how lighting can slowly change over the course of two hours so that the audience find themselves in a completely different world, without realising how they got there.
Although all of the technical elements of this show have now been added, the final thing that was missing was the most important – you. We learn from you and make the show adapt to the audience. It’s thrilling to see the actors work out what they’re going to do based on the audience in the room, and we are so grateful to our audiences who have helped us finish building the world of Fitzgerald’s novel. It’s been a privilege to welcome you to The Gate.
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