It’s amazing how quickly I forget how much I love being in the rehearsal room with Stan’s Cafe. Each time I return it is full of anxiety and self-doubt, but subtly I become lost in the collective challenge of making the show as good as we possibly can and I’m in my element. Last week was a complete treat. We’ve been reviving and remaking Time Critical; we’ve driven it into the garage, got it up on the ramp, taken it apart, changed some parts, polished up other bits, tuned it up and by the end of next week it will be revved up and waiting to go.
The first version of Time Critical wasn’t suitable for touring, it was made for our 25th Anniversary and so contained more Stan’s Cafe biography than a neutral audience would appreciate so we’ve had fun putting all those elements through a rigorous testing regime and stripped out any elements that are superfluous weight – even bits we love but which don’t work for us enough.
We’ve had one big forced change to the show’s engine as Rochi is on maternity leave and Amy has stepped in to replace her. It has been fun watching Amy reinterpret the material. We gave her the script a couple of months ago and she’s been watching a video that splices together the two original performances. We’ve had fun establishing where the script is definitive and where the video is definitive as the two don’t always line up (a lack of assistant director / or stage manager means amendments we made to the final printed versions of the scripts didn’t ever get transferred back to the computer version of the script).
This 2017 version of Time Critical is 120 seconds longer than the 2016 version and we’ve been having fun deciding how best to deploy this extra time plus the time gained by stripping out redundant material.
Our ambition is for Craig to actually get to do some of Nenad Prokic’s amazing epilogue text from Finger Trigger Bullet Gun the intention was for him to do this in the first version but it had to be jettisoned live in performance in order for Craig to get to the end of his script on time.
We’ve decided to use the rest of our gained time to give more weight to touching humdrum personal stories that contrast with the drama of world events. A new strand is added that charts Amy’s triumphant journey to the Stan’s Cafe stage (she was a three year old eating jelly as Graeme and James were working on the first Stan show).
It’s been fun making the jokes sharper, the blocking tighter, the chaos more chaotic and our choices more considered. The first version was made in four weeks so we’ve already had a bonus 25% extra time in the rehearsal room with another 25% to come. What a treat, what fun!