Nothing quite prepares you for the chaos of the production week of your performance. You are aware that it will be a “bit crazy”, and you have done as much in advance as possible. You have learned your lines diligently (sure, we have our scripts in a radio play, but we are obviously perfectionists), you have sorted your costume, and you have hunted down every single one of your colleagues about their Friday and Saturday night plans, but still… The running around, handing out the last flyers, getting the final stitches on a dress, and screaming ‘Has anyone seen my bow tie?’ in a room of half-dressed, equally stressed out adults, who share your far too intense after work hobby; It’s all part of the game!
However so, besides helping your co-stars hoist themselves in their dresses in a last minute panic, there is a lot more technical and emotional aspects to these hectic pre-show antics. A show night should run as smoothly as possible, and that starts hours before we open the doors to our well awaited audience. We arrange the space and carry equipment from A to B, as we are our own show roadies; We ensure that the mics, speakers, and sound table are hooked up and ready. You test the mics with some truly terrible misquotations in your characters voice and accent, and once we have the stage set up, it is time to get yourself ready. Everyone gets in costume, hair, and make-up. Then starts the tricky bit.
Whilst only having joined during the last stage play, Sense & Sensibility, I don’t have the same extensive repertoire as some other cast members. However, I have come to learn that it is essential for me to “get in the zone”. I play music I associate with my character Chauvelin (Everybody wants to rule the world – Lorde), practice my French accent (I’d like to emphasise the irony of a Dutch person speaking English with a French accent), and then try to get as focussed as humanly possible… Which is more strenuous than Chauvelin’s mission to catch the Scarlet Pimpernel, as not a minute goes by without me bursting out in hysterical laughter. A stressful, hectic production week is made so much easier when surrounded by kind, wonderful, and sometimes plain ridiculous, people who bring out the best in you. Well… and the worst, in the best way possible. So when you join us for our play, post pre-show antics: Know that if you get to enjoy just half of the hilarity we’ve had during our production, we have succeeded in giving you a night to remember.
But now, I must go… I see a guillotine with someone’s name on it… Au revoir!
– Blog post by Robin Rose Breetveld
The University of Kent Players will be writing weekly blog posts throughout the rehearsal and production period of The Scarlet Pimpernel. If you are interested in joining the University of Kent Players, finding out more about a specific role, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets for The Scarlet Pimpernel are on sale here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-scarlet-pimpernel-radio-play-by-the-university-of-kent-players-tickets-50396456157