All’s Well That Ends Well Blog 1:
Rehearsals begin alongside Hamlet performances
The busiest time in the Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and Tobacco Factory Theatres 2016 Shakespeare season is upon us! Assistant Stage Manager, Charlie Smalley, tells us more…
“Our first show, Hamlet is up and running, while All’s Well That Ends Well is just going into rehearsals. It’s exciting, if a little tiring, to be back in the rehearsal room during the day, working on an updated version of All’s Well, which Dominic Power has been scribbling away at ready for the read through.
In the evenings, we’ll put All’s Well to bed while we perform Hamlet and this will be our pattern for the next five weeks until All’s Well opens. This busy schedule affects the whole company, as all fifteen actors have roles in both shows.
For me, as the Assistant Stage Manager, being back at the start of the rehearsal process means looking for props. I’ll be writing letters, sourcing jewellery and attempting to locate some period furniture – while keeping an eye on the rehearsal reports each day to see if any new props are required. It’s a very enjoyable part of the job, particularly for someone who enjoys shopping, making endless lists and practising calligraphy!
Once the show opens I’m based backstage, where I look after the props, furniture and – of course – the cast (although, as the youngest in the company, they do a lot of looking after me!) My role as the ASM is to help the Stage Manager ensure that everything runs smoothly each evening, and my duties can range from hoovering and cleaning up fake blood, to waxing swords and fixing skulls.
My main job each day on Hamlet is to reset and check all of the props and furniture are in the right positions for the start of the show. I then do a ‘shout check’ with the Stage Manager, to double check I’ve set everything correctly, and then we’re ready to open the house.
During the show my busiest times are scene changes, when I will often be on stage moving furniture or clearing props. I’m in costume for Hamlet – so if you come to see the show you might spot me nipping on and off between scenes! I don’t know yet if I will be costumed for All’s Well That Ends Well, but we’ll soon see… fingers crossed it’s not a corset!”
Posted on 23 February 2016