There are many differences between film and stage. I love both formats. I love the creativity I can express through film, but I love the intimacy that comes with the stage. What I tend to overlook time and time and time again is the one thing that makes me deeply unhappy – rehearsals.
Currently I am in the final stages of rehearsals for Henry IV part 2 as part of the 400 anniversary of Shakespeare season with Bigger Than Us Productions. It’s been an amazing summer, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people Northern Ireland has to offer – and yes, I am a little bit smug about the fact that I got everyone one of the actors I wanted – all my first choices.
I have a wonderful mix of people – from teenagers on their first performance through to seasoned pros. There is a wonderfully rich mix of people involved – a seventeen year old taking on the very meaty role of Pistol with an energy that frankly sinister, a radio DJ playing Poins with with the best facial expressions I have ever seen, a young Bardolph providing MILES of homoerotic moments, a stand up comedian playing Francis with a cheek and presence that far surpasses her years, a stately Hal played by the most regal young gent I have ever come across (even if he is a bad influence) and my Holy Trinity – my Doll, my Mistress Quickly and my beloved Falstaff – the sharp Mistress, the young Doll and the wonderful Falstaff who holds them all in the palm of his hand.
Last night we had a wonderful blocking session and it’s easy to see how it’s all come together now. I certainly feel a lot less stressed and worried than I did a few weeks ago, and once again I was reassured watching my wonderful, wonderful cast work together in harmony. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a group of people who acted and reacted so INSTINCTIVELY with each other, who used the space, who weren’t afraid to get physical, who gave it their all.
This is a far cry from the adaptations of the past – it’s Henry IV set in ‘organised’ Belfast. It’s sinister, it’s threatening, but it’s also fucking hilarious – because if anyone knows how to make fun of themselves, the Northern Irish do. It’s threats and violence and lust and greed and gluttony and sex and a dick joke every other line and everyone works in ‘construction’.
So, with two weeks to go I’m both terrified and excited.
My parents are coming to see it too – my mum came to see a performance of a play I wrote earlier this summer and it seemed to be a bit of an eye opener for her – I think she finally realises that when I’m sat behind my laptop for hours on end I’m not playing Candy Crush.
So this is it, the final countdown.
It will be awesome.