Romania Invaded

Fifteen people flew out to Bucharest from Birmingham and London an Saturday as part of a mini Stan’s Cafe invasion and things have been pretty relentless since then. At 11 that night we unloaded the lorry from the terrifying Balcescu Boulevard (straight road, miles long, three lanes each way, the standard challenge: can you clock a ton between traffic lights?) into the Sala Dalles.

On Sunday the get in started at 9. Downstairs Constance Brown is built n the old Warwick Arts Centre style, with the set in one room butted up against a wide door way and the seating bank built in the adjoining room. Upstairs a separate team is installing Of All The People In All The World on a wide balcony looking down on the seating bank structure.

Whichever way you cut it Constance Brown is a big get-in and the show’s to large to allow re-rehearsal at home. As a result the pressure is on to set everything up with enough time to spare to bring everyone back up to speed. Adding to the excitement is the fact that this was Billy’s first time on the show as Stage Manager, Hugh’s first time in sole charge of the lights. Ray was being rehearsed into the role devised by Andy but which is rapidly becoming ‘special guest star’ slot.

By the time we were ejected from the building at 9 that evening we had most things set up and had worked through all but the last couple of scenes.

At 9 the next morning tec type folk started to polish off the last of the build and tweak jobs. The performers arrived at 11, finished off the previous day’s worth through. Worked over a few scenes again. Run a dress rehearsal. Reset. Tweaked further things and performed the show. Somewhere around the reset, tweaking further things stage Of All The People In All The World opened to a decent media turn out and VIPs. Interviews required and a smart shirt.

At some point on Monday, whilst Gerard was out with Billy sorting costume issues Jon McGuiness got his first taste of doing the things that Gerard does. Meanwhile, never less than two yards from Bernadette studying her every move has been Alex Alderton.

Another split 9 and 11 call sets up a day working through the show with Jon and Alex as Gerard and Bernadette. After a decent break Alex is thrown in at the deep end and performs the show that night with Bernadette backstage aiding and abetting.

This morning the OATP team did the first two of their three workshops, which they dealt with admirably (the Romanian kids had a fantastic grasp of English). Now I’m in danger of being late for a 4pm call for a dress run preparing Jon to go on tonight. He’s got no choice as Gerard has already left the country to look after his ailing mother. We wish him and her well.


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