From The Bottom To The Top – The Story So Far, Part 7

(This blog post began life as part of the Tower Theatre Company newsletter and was first published in late June 2015 on the day of the national press launch for the RSC project – June 24th 2015)

Barbican-Tower-Theatre-Photo-by-Topher-McGrillis635
The official RSC photo on the Barbican stage      Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC

Well, it seems that our play really is preferred. The news that we were through the audition process and were the lucky London team chosen to play the Mechanicals for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s A Play For The Nation project next year actually arrived on 1st June along with confirmaion of all the other chosen teams around the country. But understandably the RSC wanted to ensure a concerted media launch so I’ve had to forego leaping into print until this point. At least this has given time for reflection but it’s been really hard keeping the news to ourselves; I now know what it must be like to have won the Great British Bake Off and not be allowed to say something until the final programme has been transmitted in case the surprise is spoiled.

So, how does it feel? Pardon the pun but like a dream come true! I’m still waking in the morning thinking there must have been a mistake somewhere or that the whole thing is a gigantic hoax. Are we really going to be appearing at the Barbican and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon in an RSC production of one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies? Surely not! But no, the very nice letter from Erica Whyman, Kim Sykes and Sophie Ivatts (the directors) tends to suggest otherwise.

RSC confirmation of casting

Not a huge amount has actually happened since we got the news – if you don’t count a lot of silly running round the house and squeaking like an excited three year old who’s just heard that Santa’s about to come down the chimney (NB – That’s a personal response; I’m sure the other team members have been far more mature and sensible than me!) However, the RSC themselves have been very busy, of course, selecting teams for the other venues.

So, we’ve all had to complete a press questionnaire  – dream roles, favourite actors, past productions and so on. And on June 11th we met as a group for the first time since the news had come through. We were at the Barbican again to have the official publicity photos taken and make a recording that will go out as part of the production trailer.

Ill met by moonlight proud Titania If they ever remake Hitchcock's Half Hour I'm in with a shout!
“Ill met by moonlight proud Titania”
If they ever remake Hitchcock’s Half Hour I’m in with a shout!

Thrillingly this gave us our first chance to step onto the Barbican stage amid the stage set for a production of Waiting For Godot which was playing there. Looking out at the 1,000+ auditorium that we hope will be full every performance I was suddenly struck by our good fortune in winning through, the enormity of the challenge ahead and the absolute honour of being part of such a unique opportunity.  Bottom’s words suddenly had a new resonance: I have had a most rare vision!

I’ll finish on an apology. Winning through means that you’re going to be subjected to these ramblings for quite some time yet – sorry about that!

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From The Bottom To The Top – The Story So Far, Part 7

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