Simon Spencer-Hyde here. I play the Lighthouse Keeper, Mr Grinling as well as numerous other characters in the show. It has been an excellent first week. Costumes are well on the way and the set is taking shape around us; all this really helps us inform our world and our characters, the fact that Eastbourne’s seagull community are in regular converse around our studio also helps place us in the world of the lighthouse keeper.
|(L-R) Grant Stimpson, Becky Barry and Simon Spencer-Hyde|
I’m really enjoying working out how our performance arena works - and it’s relationship with the audience. Stevie Thompson [our director] led us through a clown exercise she wants us to incorporate into the show, where you constantly ‘check-in’ with the audience. This was really interesting to explore; and rewarding to watch the other actors trying it out, because when they “clock”, you [the audience] feel really involved with the action. We also had a fabulous session on Friday afternoon looking into the physicality and voices of our various characters. We started off exploring how they walk etc, how their feet land, how they hold their shoulders, neck, where they lead from etc. But then Stevie got us to get a song that was relevant to that character into our heads [could be from the show but not necessarily] and start moving around the rehearsal studio seeing how this ‘internal music’ affected the character’s movement. It was a brilliant exercise, and totally changed the movement style I was exploring. This movement quality we had discovered was then extended to the voice and I found myself talking in a way I had never done before, something close to Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, but a bit more real!
Lots of music to weave into the show as well, and on lots of different instruments, which I particularly love. We’re trying to get all the incidental music as live as possible, considering there are only three of us and Grant [who plays Hamish the cat] hardly ever leaves the stage, this is a tall order, but it’s worked splendidly so far, although it does make for some challenging costume changes! Rowan Talbot [our Musical Director] is rewriting some of the music to adapt it to live instruments and it’s sounding really great.
Next week will be about getting through to the end in basic form, getting off book, cementing the current shape and then adding layers and detail, which is always an exciting part.
Bring it on. If only I didn’t have a stinking cold [it won’t stop me though].