DruidO’Casey: Rehearsal Diary 3
Company Manager Jean Hally’s diary from Weeks 5 and 6 of DruidO’Casey rehearsals
30 May 2023
If we were rehearsing just one play, by Week 5 we would be in the middle of technical rehearsals but, on a project this big, the plays are still being pieced together. This gives the Stage Management team time to work on all the props that need to be made and sourced for such a large production.
The job of a Stage Manager varies hugely from day to day. Over the course of the last two weeks, our Assistant Stage Managers (ASMs) Mark, Rachel and Síle went from painting a boat to reupholstering chairs to making plastic flowers look wilted. The props list on the show is massive as you might imagine and so far we have: 57 spools of green, white and orange thread; 13 whiskey glasses; 5 teapots; and 5 guns. The research into all of these props takes a lot of time and all three ASMs are drawn to a different type of prop. Mark’s favourite is the baby doll, the 19th company member, who we’ve affectionately named Terri (when we first got her, she terrified us!). Rachel’s favourites are the weapons in the plays - given the historical context of the plays, there are a lot of details which have to be noted when sourcing 20th-century weapons. Síle’s favourite prop is the beautiful Royal typewriter that she spent weeks searching for.
Of course, props are not all that goes into creating the world of DruidO’Casey. There are 18 actors who will morph into more than 40 characters. With so many people and so many moving parts (music, costume fittings, line learnings…), there are a lot of things to keep track of. With three plays and nine different acts in DruidO’Casey, the daily schedule is a big undertaking every afternoon. Making sure that each department gets time with the actors they need while trying not to disturb the flow of rehearsals is like a game of ‘time tetris’. The different daily schedules makes for an interesting work week - no two days are the same.
The central hub of the Stage Management department is our production office and with the amount of things going on, the amount of people in the company and the amount of different jobs to be done, the function of the office is different every day. In the last few days alone the office was used to sew a duvet cover, draw up lighting plans and dogsit a cast member’s dog for a short time while she ran her scene in the rehearsal room. Never a dull moment!
The Stage Management team is also responsible for the running of the rehearsal room. There are sometimes multiple set turn-arounds in one day, so we are in constant communication with each other, as well as with Director Garry Hynes, to make sure that the rehearsal room has the correct set in place. Our Deputy Stage Manager Sophie is the eyes and ears of the Stage Management team in the rehearsal room. Anything that is needed or anything that changes is channelled from her to the relevant team members through the rehearsal report which is compiled and sent out to the full team every evening.
Stage Management keep the wheels in motion on all productions. We work hard to make sure everyone is working toward the same end goal and are in good form while doing it. I keep having to remind myself that the rehearsal period for DruidO’Casey is a marathon not a sprint! At this stage, we have another four weeks in rehearsal before we piece the show together during tech. That’s the next big jump in the rehearsal process. Until then I look forward to seeing what next unusual prop we add to our collection…