Celebrity 11: Props!
Our first props have appeared – our lead character is a chain-smoker, so the smokeless stage-fags are drafted in for our leading lady, who has never smoked. It’s time to explain to her that there are certain ways in which smokers respect space by holding their ciggies away from others. Snouts are great, because they give the performers more to work with, which is why there are often tumblers of whisky onstage.
It’s a period play, set in 1968. Hell, where do we find an old dictaphone? Luckily, the director’s mother, who has never knowingly thrown anything away in her life, owns one. I haven’t made things easy for myself by having the foyers of not one but two continental hotels on stage. What was I thinking? Can we get away with velvet curtains and some cherubs?
Oh, and the main prop, the one which gets used and re-used, a modified desk/ dressing table/ counter, hasn’t turned up. And our set designer is currently stuck in Udaipur, India (with grand-dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, but that’s another story).
Trickier still is the fact that our actors will have to do their own scene changes during blackouts. When they signed up for this, they didn’t know they’d be required to hump furniture about. And yet – it’s still going well, driven by the sheer good nature of our cast. Nearly half of all the tickets have been sold, and that’s before we start appearing in the listings magazines.
If we can keep the set from collapsing and the cast from falling off the tiny stage, we may just be all right.