Cyrano | Rehearsal Diary - Week 3 and 4

14 Oct 2019

 'Revisiting and Refining' Assistant Director Jess Clough-MacRae speaks on the 3rd and 4th weeks of Cyrano rehearsals. 

The last two weeks have flown by. In week 3 we covered Acts 3 and 4 and touched on act 5. Finally in week four we’ve had time to go back and look at the first two acts. It’s been about revisiting and refining.

Act 3 is the emotional heart of the play. We see all our characters in a different light, bearing their hearts on their sleeves. Peters translation is desperately beautiful. It’s enough to make you fall in love with the very concept of romance.

Act 4 brings us to a very different setting for the start of the second half. Arguably the most serious act, we see more humanity in these larger-than-life characters.

We don’t get to Act 5 until the end of week 4. Let’s call act 5 the payoff. That’s all I’m saying.

Each department has been working away industriously, and we start to see all these elements come together. The actors use their hats in rehearsals to differentiate between characters. Most of them are multi-rolling, so costume is useful for them to develop each distinct character. A very secretive nose-casting session takes place during week 3. We have yet to see the finished masterpiece, but it promises to be spectacular.

At the end of week 3 I head to the BOV workshop to see the set. This is the first time I’ve seen the workshop and it’s humbling to see all the hard work and attention to detail going into building the world Ti designed. 

The fight is really coming along. We work it for half an hour every day, with another session with Jonathan to re-choreograph a few moments. Tris and Giles have got more confident and some sequences have naturally fallen into double time. Jonathan adds a few killer moves and we repeat and repeat, drumming the words and the music in. Guy does an amazing Job with the music, keeping Tris and Giles in time. On Tuesday we run the full scene with the lead-up to the fight and something clicks. The next morning in the fight call something clicks. They run it flawlessly three times. It flows beautifully. The text is there. The music is delightful. It’s in the net.

Any quiet moments are spent running lines. Peter has kept a French rhythm to the play which is delightful to hear, but at times quite challenging to learn.

There is a moment in every production where the task suddenly feels impossible. We need more time. How on earth could this play go up in under two weeks? The actors can’t possibly learn all their lines, the set will never be ready, the costumes wont fit. Yet somehow it always comes together. By the end of week four we are able to run the full show. It needs polishing but it’s all there. Ready for tech week.

Cyrano runs til 16 Nov, for more information and to book tickets, click here