Back to Hackney for the dress rehearsal. A chance to find out in real time whether our carousel experiment has worked and whether the company have the stamina and focus to repeat their stories back to back three times. We're giving out stickers to each member of the audience to put them into a red, blue or green team and, with a bit of additional rhyming text, which we hope Chaucer will forgive us for, the company lead each coloured team on their own journey through the stories. Tina took Red, Stu and Paul Green and myself Blue. Something very lovely about parting for a story and being reunited for a sing song before dividing again. A feel of wanting to share notes and recount our adventures.
The Wife of Bath's story always finishes first, and this gives us an eggy few minutes of awkward ad-lib in the courtyard before the musicians, who are incorporated into The Miller's story come back and play.
In the end we decided that we'd fill the gap by offering the audience refreshments at this point and so tomorrow we'll stop off at the Co-op and buy a load of red wine, crusty rolls and pork pies to give holy medieval sustenance to our weary pilgrims. We might also throw in some secular orange juice for any children in the audience. Over the three rounds of story telling it means everybody will get a chance of a drink and some food and as we've discovered repeatedly over the course of these community projects singing, eating and drinking together does tend to bring audience and performers together in a way that more formal theatre structures can't.
The runs themselves went really well, and despite the immense amount of hard work and readjusting the cast have had to do in the last few days everybody is in great spirits. Show time tomorrow.