Friday, 24 June 2011

Arrival of The Fleet.

Rehearsals moved from land to water today - which meant Fernando and me had a quiet day mainly spent watching the boats on the reservoir try and co-ordinate their tacking under Karen's radio instructions.

There are three main components to this. First of all the Rutland Belle, which once rigged with the osprey, is hidden behind the church. Its appearance into view could, provided we don't spoil the surprise, produce a wonderful moment of spectacle. Secondly we have three green goddesses disguised as silver fish, which will accompany the Belle and finally the sixty or so boats belonging to Sailability - a para sailing club which will be released from a holding dock and provide the grand and triumphant finale.

The pre-show routine for tomorrow is beginning to take shape. Space is now fully allocated, jobs fixed and timings agreed. We're still slightly stretched and are occasionally having to fend off well meaning offers of help from parents and other local supporters keen to take on responsibility for the shows well being. It's a difficult issue with community shows like this. It only works if everybody feels a part of things - but equally there has to a real sense of control from the professional team. The craft is in making very good decisions about other peoples skills and capabilities in order to harness the potential of the collective group. Get it wrong and you're in real show threatening trouble; get it right and the work grows beyond anybodies wildest dreams.

The weather was very difficult today - but in many ways this was a blessing in disguise. If we can make things work in the wind and rain then we should find even the half hearted late June climate, predicted for the weekend, relatively easy to manage. Towards the end of the evening Peter Ashworth, in charge of the young sailors, warned that we might have to abort the ending. We hit fast forward and watched from the shore as the boats rapidly filled the bay, making impressive use of the prevailing wind. It was magic.

The arrival of the flotilla marks the final layer of our show. There's Nick's score, Chris's script - read ever more sensitively by Hannah Gordon, who's been with us over the last couple of days, our land based choreography, the wonderful Sengalese drumming and now the boats. Each of these five elements has been conceived and rehearsed mostly in glorious isolation. Occasionally paths have crossed, but mostly the connections have been made through intelligence and facilitated accident. Even now less than a day away from our first performance we're still spotting the possibilities and making tweaks. It's been a marvellous way to work.


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