Saloin rehearsal


Over the next few weeks the cast and creative of our brand new production of SALOMÉ will take you through the production process. 

From pre rehearsal to the first day of rehearsal right up to opening night and through the run we take you behind the scenes of the magnificent play.

Tech, preview and Opening Night.

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen. It’s press night. Sink or swim. The creative team have done an incredible job with all the tech and now everything’s in place. This is when this epic comes together. The lights are bright and getting brighter. The sounds are loud and getting louder. We’re ready. It’s time to be fearless, to be playful, to be bold. But whatever you do, don’t get blood on your costume.
Cal Chapman

Day Fifteen (Final day of rehearsal)

Final day of rehearsals today! There was so much going on in our final run, more than ever before, so a high level of focus is so essential to ensure everything is heard and responded to. Only when I do this I can really respond and react in truth. I will absorb today’s rehearsal over the weekend so that I listen more next week!
Annemarie Anang

And we’ve done it, that’s the whole play staged. Now the final few days before heading into the tech can be spent polishing movement and weaving more detail into each moment of the play, making all of our intentions and actions as crystal clear as can be. We’re proud of what we’ve made so far, but there’s still further to go with it to elevate things to that next level where theatre goes from enjoyable to incredible. But it’s all coming together now, it’s an exciting time to be in the room, watch this space. 

Cal Chapman

Day Fourteen

Damn this has gone quick. Last day of rehearsals tomorrow. We’ve spent 3 weeks getting comfortable with the play, now we need to get uncomfortable with it again. The actions of this play are strange, unheard of and down right deranged in places. Each new scandal and shock needs to hit like we have know idea what’s coming next. So at the end, we’re going back to the start with script work, ensuring no small detail has been dropped while we’ve been pulling everything apart in the lab. Attention to detail, it’s one of the keys to greatness, so we’re being meticulous. A problem we’ve faced together is how many contradictions and hypocrites there are. Characters do philosophical 180’s in the space of half a page, but we can’t get too caught up on that or the action becomes messy and unclear. All we need to know is the people in this play are 100% certain in whatever it is they are saying in that exact moment, even if the next thing they say is the polar opposite of that belief. It’s one of those ‘embrace the oddity’ moments. If you look to rationalise everything, you will drown in this play, there are just too many contradictions and impulses. But so it goes in life. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all said one thing and done another from time to time, and we know we were right both times. 
Cal Chapman
Intentions, intentions, intentions! Intensify intentions! How important it is that with a challenging, non-naturalistic play like Salomé, the play is accepted for just what it is and we all dive into the world of its absurdity? Want to jump in and get dirty tomorrow for our final rehearsal.
Annemarie Anang

Day Thirteen 

Right, time to get weird. Weird Al Yankovic would look it this production and say ‘yeah, that’s pretty weird’. Naturalism went out the window a week ago and the angel of death has arrived. Yesterday’s work left the burning question - what role does the ensemble play in the unraveling of the royals? Could they become a physical embodiment of the impending doom that builds through the play, the ticking of the bomb, the beating of wings in the palace, the sand in the hourglass. From the second the play starts, the countdown to disaster kicks off, the vultures begin to circle and the angel of death won’t be going anywhere until...well, if you don’t know the story yet I shan’t spoil it. So even in the final days, we’re finding new ways to keep ramping up the unrelenting pressure, building it to a boiling point and constantly stoking the flames to earn that fever pitch ending. I think everyone’s going to need a hug and a stiff drink after this. Mine’s a rum and coke. 
Cal Chapman

Day Twelve... 

Onto our final week of rehearsals! While it has absolutely flown by, you'd be amazed at the amount of work we can cram into these final few days. We're doing a run in front of the creative team tomorrow so I'm going to go over my notes for these last two weeks to see what I have inevitably forgotten! 
David Clayton

Day Eleven...

NEW WEEK NEW BEGINNINGS! It's bank holiday Monday and we are all straight back into the rehearsal room after a couple of days to rest and let the last two weeks of rehearsals sink in. Today was particularly exciting… today we started to look into the Dance Of The Seven Vails. King Herod asks for Salome to dance for him which leads to one of the most scandalous performances ever seen on stage… so no pressure right? Ricky has been trying out a few options for music and choreography with us to see what works best. This dance is a real chance to experiment with surrealism and stretch the already slightly absurdist nature of the play and punch the audience with this erotic and shocking performance. Today I really felt the ensemble come together and I am so excited to continue pushing and exploring. You lot will be in for a treat! We also had a chance to explore the Greenwich Stage, to get a feel of the space we have to fill compared to our small rehearsal room, and everything is slowly starting to get very, very real! Let the countdown begin.
Hattie Wilkinson
Everybody dance now! Bom, bom , bom, buh-bom. We’re back in the room for our final week of rehearsals and we’re kicking off with ‘The Dance of the Seven Veils’. What is ‘The Dance of the Seven Veils’, or at least what is our version going to be? Most people’s minds jump to ‘I Dream of Genie’ style see-through harem pants, belly-dancing circa ‘Arabian Nights’, 1886, and enough incense to choke an elephant. That might have rocked the socks off a late 19th century audience, but we’re making this for you. So it’s back to lab, trying different songs, different styles, different ways of making this as strange and enticing as possible. Come and see what we’ve done with it. And we went on a field trip! Grab your packed lunches, cool kids sit at the back of the bus. Heading to The Greenwich Theatre, we got a chance to walk the boards and test the acoustics. It’s a beautiful space. It’s also pretty massive and will require a great deal of strength, technique and stamina to fill, so it’s handy to get that early look in now to start practising filling all that space. We can’t leave anyone behind by mumbling or through lack of energy. We have to make sure everyone is a part of this, from the front row to the back. 
Cal Chapman

Day Ten...

We rehearsed first part of play up till interval. I’m learning that the play requires an enormous amount of energy for its hugely intense moments, which can be exhausting! Now I am making more sense of the relationships within the play, I’ll need to commit 100% to each action and more so it is amplified it at the Greenwich Theatre! Looking forward to experiencing what the cast will bring to the table in the final week of rehearsals next week.
Annemarie Anang

Day Nine

We have almost reached the end of our second, and penultimate, week of rehearsals. Its crazy how much we've got done, but our brains are definitely starting to fry! It's great to see the piece finally starting to take shape and its around this time in the process that I start to be able to, accurately, picture what the final product might look like. 

Friday Night drinks is most certainly going to be needed tomorrow!
David Clayton

Explored human relationships and the dependancy we can inherently have on each other, as human beings. Experiencing some new emotions as the character today and need to learn how to handle them without injury to myself; am nursing a bruised hand this evening!

Annemarie Anang

Insane in the membrane, insane in the brain! Herod’s a little bit mad, isn’t he? Today we saw the royals beginning to slip. Like a car crash in slow motion, it’s too late to save any of these people, we just have to stand and watch as guilt, lust and jealousy swallow them whole. Creatively, we like to run our room like a little laboratory; constantly adjusting the variables, the many different ways to approach the same piece of text, to see how the results drive us towards the most compelling version of each moment in the play. We’re pitting naturalistic design against a symbolist setting, we’re seeing when there’s strength in surrealism, what moments need to feel unflinchingly real. The scientific approach runs on a fair deal of trail and error, so some elements worked, some didn’t, it’s a learning process. But when it worked, it worked. It was palpable, you felt it. There were moments today that remind you theatre-making truly is a kind of magic. 
Cal Chapman

Day Eight

Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom...Well it’s all kicking off now. Blood spilled, prophets crying, kings cursing. We made proper headway with the staging today, but also ran into our fair share of walls and pitfalls. The language is more poetic than naturalistic, and the desires and actions of the people in the play aren’t exactly every-day either. The play reads a lot like a Greek tragedy; does it need to be played like one? Wilde was writing in a period where symbolism was rapidly growing in prominence; should we be leaning harder into the strangeness of it all? And what of the odd crisis or two that seems to be forgotten almost as soon as it bubbles over? I can’t tell you we have all the answers just yet, but I can tell you we’re going to keep tweaking and trying, observing and experimenting, feeling out our style until we have something nothing short of breath-taking. Till then. 
Cal Chapman

Day Seven

COSTUMES COSTUMES COSTUMES! One of my favourite parts is finding out what you are going to be wearing! It can inform so much., like how your character might move, what their status is and then the obvious what is their style. Safe to say we are all looking pretty fly.
Hattie Wilkinson
Into our second week of rehearsals! It's proving quite a different beast than the Marlowe and Shakespeare I've done before with Lazarus. On a surface read Salome appears far more contemporary but it's actually quite a difficult piece to get to grips with, you really have to drawn out the language (Beautiful language I might add!) to make any sense of the bonkers. Not that we want to get rid of all the bonkers!

We also started staging some big movement pieces which is always fun but it does mean you end the day being both physically and mentally exhausted!

Fortune favours the bold!
David Clayton
Welcome to the Hotel Cal-ifornia. Anyway, the lion’s share of today was spent workshopping a potential opening sequence, something visceral, something powerful, something that demands the audience’s attention as we come kicking and screaming out the gate. I’ll let you find out for yourself what we came up with but it felt a bit like attending a wake and a carnival at the same time. Mad. Then we had a little costume fitting (mine’s so sick, you should see it), before ploughing on and gaining a bit more ground with the staging. A playwright gives you so many clues how to be brilliant, and one of the most useful is...the punctuation. Properly followed, punctuation gives you the pace, the pace gives you the rhythm, the rhythm gives you the heartbeat, the heartbeat gives you theatre that truly feels alive. Therein lies the challenge. 
Cal Chapman

Day Six...

Back in the game! After a weekend of rest and sleeping off Friday evenings pub session we got back to it with a rigorous warm up and a movement workshop, which aimed to look at potential ideas for movement sequences as well as informing Ricky how we all move as individuals. After lunch we got to see a model of our set and staging. It was really good fun to start to see some potential visuals and how we would be using the space at the Greenwich (Cue Spandau Ballet ‘GOLD’). We have started to block our scenes too, getting a feel for how we want the play to start, making sure the start is almost opposite to the end, so we don’t get trudged down in emotional, heavy depressing dialogue and mood from the get go, but instead start with a sense of anticipation and even positivity/fun. The more we play with the scenes the more we begin to see the multiple antithesis’ in the text, leading us to examine how we can embody this into our staging to create this exploding epic.
Hattie Wilkinson
Cal’s back once again with the renegade master. Right, week 2, let’s have it. None of that Monday morning feeling for us, there just isn’t time, so we’re straight into movement and looking at the different levels of energy a person might exist in at various points in the play. Using a scale of 1-7, 1 being an alert stillness and 7 being bouncing off the bloody walls, we observed how each level sat in our bodies. Let me tell you 7 needs a hell of a lot of energy, a high up ‘chesty’ breath and a very low centre of gravity, mainly so you don’t crash into anything or anyone else also running full pelt around the room. Then we were getting cheeky with it. How does it look if the men exist in 6 while the women exist in 3? What does it feel like if everyone is moving in a sustained slow motion at 2, except for a couple people bounding in between the gaps at a relentless 7? Some compelling contradictions to be found. In the afternoon, we began staging this epic. At the beginning, we’re learning not to play the end. Don’t come out and start in tragedy, do everything you can to make it upbeat and positive. Build these people up higher so we can see them fall further. Make it brutal. Right, gotta go, I need to bandage up my feet before tomorrow. Don’t ask. 
Cal Chapman

Day Four...

Getting to know the text. What exactly are we saying? How do we communicate that to an audience? It was an intense day of really listening, repeating and questioning when we may not have understood each other when rehearsing the text. It really goes to show that standing still and listening/ focusing for two hours is actually far harder that running around all over the stage for two hours. I think we will all be sleeping very well tonight!
Hattie Wilkinson
Day one, two, three and four down! 

We have almost reached the end of the first week of Salome rehearsals, time is flying by! My last shows with Lazarus have all been Marlowe or Shakespeare so 19th Century Oscar Wilde is rather modern in comparison! 

The first few days of rehearsal always fill me with a bit of trepidation. You're meeting a room full of (mostly) new people who you will be spending the next 5 weeks with almost 24/7! But its great, as part of Lazarus' process we do a lot of ensemble building and the atmosphere in the room is great, whether we're exploring the text or bouncing a rainbow ball off each other 142 times (Don't ask) everyone is giving their all in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. 

I'm really excited to start getting it all on its feet and seeing where this bonkers play will take us.
David Clayton
Electric Boogaloo. Time for some text! But if you think we’re all sat round with chi teas and fold-out tables, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. We’ve got a boxing ring made of electrical tape. With the play broken down into episodes, we’re up on our feet working through the lines, but with a cheeky little twist. If you’re not in the episode being played in the ring, you’re on the outside looking in, listening to every thought spoken. If we understand what they mean, we reflect it, vocally and physically. But if we don’t get it....silence. Try again, mate. This process ensures we know what every utterance means: no mumbling, no white noise, no trying to speed past something hoping no one will notice. You’ve got to make sure everyone knows what you mean, or else we’re not moving on. And it worked. I may have read the script 10 times since prepping for the audition and today, and yet with this exercise, a few details and shocking revelations I’d never appreciated we’re made clear to me. Gotta love the process, ey?
Cal Chapman

Day Three...

Today got very physical! After our usual group warm up we started to learn how we moved individually, and then as a company. It took some time to really relax and get a feel for our own bodies; how we breath, walk, run, lie down and stretch out, but to then find out how we would move as 9 individuals together was fascinating. It's interesting to remember that every single person in the room has an influence on how a company runs. Even though we work as an ensemble each one of us makes this production and company unique. When we found a fluid unison together Ricky called it ’the company’s heart beat’. I love that. Makes me feel like I’m part of something really special, like I'm part of something much bigger. We then ended the day with our research presentations. I was paired with Jamie O’Neil (who is playing King Herod). We had been spending our lunches franticly putting information together and trying to come up with a fun way to present our topic, which if you remember was quite a heavy subject! Safe to say we got through it and made people laugh along the way. We pretended we were on a TV News Channel and even did a weather forecast based on the ‘ramblings of Jakonaan’ from the play...You probably had to be there but trust me it was funny!
Hattie Wilkinson

Day Two...

We got pretty physical this morning… and that was just the warm up! I love doing group exercises and stretches it really helps a company bond and learn how to move together very quickly. Even though its only day two I feel like I have known the rest of the cast much longer. In the afternoon we started to look at images that Ricky had brought in and that related to the imagery in the play. The floor was covered in pictures! All grouped together into themes such as ‘Blood’, ‘Moons’, ‘Classical Art’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Spaces’. Together we walked around each pile of collected images and began to discuss how they might influence our production. Ideas started flying! And I am so excited!

Spoiler… things might get a little messy.
Hattie Wilkinson
And it’s Cal up to bat. It’s early days yet, so we’re doing a lot of movement exercises to help grow as an ensemble, and we’re sharing research, learning as much as possible about the world these people lived in, what influenced them, what threatened them. We want this production to be shocking, horrifying, hypnotic. To do that we need to make sure the consequences of these people’s actions are nothing short of devastating. And the decisions they must make threaten to ruin everyone. No where is safe. No one is safe. And the angel of death is coming. Watch yourself.

 
Cal Chapman

Day One...

And we are off! Day one of rehearsals for The Lazarus Theatre Companies upcoming production of Salome and what a start. A quick introduction of the cast and creatives followed by Ricky’s thorough introduction to his process and inspirations into how we would be working over the next three weeks. Something that really stuck out for me was how Ricky believed we should approach a ‘classic’ text. He stated that: ‘Even if a play is a classic, it doesn’t mean everyone knows it. And even if people do, our job is to strip it back. We must wipe the slate clean and get rid of all preconceptions and expectations and tell it as if it’s for the first time.’ We have well and truly delved into the the script and started questioning so many aspects of the text, moods, references and characters of this ‘condensed epic’. My brain is a little fried with all the information and questions! We have also all been assigned research topics to help us tackle some of this major themes of the play, mine is ‘What was the political structure of Judea and the Middle East in the 1st Century’ so better I get cracking!
Hattie Wilkinson

60 Seconds with... 

Give us your full name, the character you are playing and where you are from.
My name is David Clayton, I’m originally from Germany and I will be playing the Guard of Herodias.

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
I was one of the Shepard’s in a nativity play way back in school, I was sick on Jesus.

What was your first experience of Oscar Wilde?
Seeing lady Windermere’s Fan at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama while I was training there.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
The beheading of Jokanaan  – theatrical death is always fun.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Herod – I think we can all sympathise with someone wanting so much we’d be willing to do anything to get it.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Journey’s End.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Gemma Whelan.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
Joaquin Phoenix or Mads Mikklesen.

Salome was originally banned apparently due to the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, however, it is widely accepted it was due to the level of sex and violence in the play. What’s the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
I shot a man in Reno.


60 Seconds with... 

Give us your full name, the character you are playing and where you are from.
My name’s Jamal Renaldo and I’m playing the character Jokannan and I’m from west London currently living in Harrow.

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
My first theatrical experience was around 8 years old playing the Artful dodger in our school production of Oliver.

What was your first experience of Oscar Wilde?
During a discussion in GCSE English were we briefly spoke about ‘The picture of Dorian Grey’.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
Salome’s seemingly strange obsession with Jokanaan.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Herodias.

Salomé has caused much controversy over the years, what play or production has provoked you / made you angry / or caused shock?
Misty shocked me at how raw and unapologetic it was and for those reasons I absolutely loved it!

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Misty.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Arinze Kene.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
If I had to choose it would probably be Marlon Brando.

Salome was originally banned apparently due to the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, however, it is widely accepted it was due to the level of sex and violence in the play. What’s the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
…..now that would be telling

60 Seconds with... 

Give us your full name, the character you are playing and where you are from.
Jamie O’Neill, Herod, Buckinghamshire

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
Pantomime when I was very young.

What was your first experience of Oscar Wilde?
The Importance Of Being Ernest at drama school – found it hilarious.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
The death of Jokanaan.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Jokanaan, he’s a mystery to me.

Salomé has caused much controversy over the years, what play or production has provoked you / made you angry / or caused shock?
I saw Blasted by Sarah Kane when I was 17. I was completely shocked by what I saw and it blew open my perceptions of what theatre was.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Mark Rylance.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
Very tough this one, but Vanessa Redgrave crushed me in The Inheritance, you could feel the weight of her experience and talent.

Salome was originally banned apparently due to the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, however, it is widely accepted it was due to the level of sex and violence in the play. What’s the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
Ask the Irish priest in the confessional at The Vatican, he forgave me of all my sins in 2017 (true story).

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name, the character you are playing and where you are from.
My name is Michael Howlett, I’m playing the character of The Young Soldier and I’m from Sydney, Australia.

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
Playing Luther Billis in a high school production of South Pacific. It was my first time on stage and I got to dance in a coconut bra and grass skirt. Think that’s where my passion started…

What was your first experience of Oscar Wilde?
Watching a brilliant production of The Importance of Being Ernest back in Sydney. I would have been about 16 at the time. I quickly fell in love with the wit and charm of it all. I got to play Algernon in 2017 and I hope to one day play Algy again. I’ll keep holding out for my cucumber sandwiches.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
I mean it’s a classical piece so surely we can’t be too worried about spoilers here, so I’d have to say my character spontaneously killing himself on stage should be pretty exciting. That, and seeing what we do with the dance of the seven veils.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Probably Herod. He’s just such a multifaceted character. He’s strong and stubborn, yet weak and afraid. Stubborn yet inquisitive. He’s got charm. He’s got wit. He’s vulnerable. He’s got it all. I’m team Herod, till he becomes a bit of a creep…

Salomé has caused much controversy over the years, what play or production has provoked you / made you angry / or caused shock?
That’s tough. Universally I feel like we’ve become quite desensitised by the media. It’s hard for me to think of something I’ve seen that produced a real feeling of ‘shock’. Of recent, closest would be Grief is the Thing with Feathers at the Barbican. There was something so primal, chaotic and animalistic about the piece. Almost had to leave a few times due to a sensory overload.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead – Tom Stoppard.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
To be honest, a single person doesn’t come to mind. So I’ll say all the actors, teachers and directors   I’ve been fortunate enough to play with and learn from over the years. Particularly those back home who are so incredibly supportive of my life here in London. Couldn’t do it without them. Bit cheesy, but true.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
Benedict Cumberbatch is the first that came to mind today, so I’ll say him.

Salome was originally banned apparently due to the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, however, it is widely accepted it was due to the level of sex and violence in the play. What’s the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
Took the cookie from the cookie jar. That, and cause roughly $8,000 worth of damage to a football stadium when I was seven.

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name, the character you are playing and where you are from.
I’m Annemarie Anang from London and I’ll be playing the Queen, Herodias.

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
One of my first was a school trip to see Peter Grimes at the ENO.

What was your first experience of Oscar Wilde?
I read a copy of Lady Windermere’s fan years ago.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
The exact moment where Herodias fully understands why her husband Herod has been constantly looking at Salome, her son, and why he has been pressuring him to dance for him.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Herod, for his insanity, delusions and childishness but I also love the ravings/truths of Jokanaan.

Salomé has caused much controversy over the years, what play or production has provoked you / made you angry / or caused shock?
Any play which doesn’t have a happy ending shocks me for days.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Natasha Gordon’s Nine Night.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Currently Celia Noble.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
I love old classics so Julie Andrews and James Stewart are my favourites from that era and Charlton Heston is extraordinary in Ben Hur. In more recent times: Cecilia Noble, Viola Davis, Michaela Coel, Christoph Waltz and Robin Williams. I’ve recently discovered Rooney Mara. Also love the work of Laura Rose and Keagan Carr Fransch, who trained at Central with me.

Salome was originally banned apparently due to the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, however, it is widely accepted it was due to the level of sex and violence in the play. What’s the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
I’ve just eaten fish and chips, two bars of Kit Kat chunky, and I’m now tempted to munch through a bag of salty and sweet popcorn.

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name, the character you are playing and where you are from.
Callum James Shewring Chapman. My friends call me ‘Cal’ though, and I’ll be playing ‘Second Soldier’. Whooo! Originally, my family’s all from up north in Lancaster and York, but I was raised in Norfolk, beautiful bit of the countryside.


What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
I was playing the back end of a cow in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk, and I just thought ‘I’m bloody nailing this.’


What was your first experience of Oscar Wilde?
‘In a handbag!?’. That and cucumber sandwiches. Tastier than they sound.


What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
I don’t what to let loose any secrets, but I will say I can’t wait to approach the movement sections. Physical theatre’s always been a favourite of mine and from what I’ve seen of Lazarus’ work, things get pretty crazy.


Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Probably Jokanaan. The fearsome prophet, terrible to look upon. Is he a babbling lunatic touched by the moon or does he speak more sense than the lofty royals? In a society of God fearing people who place so much importance on symbols and omens, a man who may or not be the mouthpiece of the Lord gives every other character so much to think about.


Salomé has caused much controversy over the years, what play or production has provoked you / made you angry / or caused shock?
I caught Ned Bennet’s production of ‘An Octroon’ at the OrangeTree a while back. I was sat in the front row, like the geek I am, and within the first minute or two of the play, the lead came and sat down in the empty seat next to me. He leaned in close and began telling me, very directly and with eerie detail, how bee swarms don’t sting their victims to death, but suffocate them. I was pretty shook. It was brilliant.


Tell us the title of your favourite play.
‘Mercury Fur’ by Phillip Ridley. Not for the faint of heart but at it’s core it asks how far would you go to protect your family with the apocalypse banging on the door. Honourable mentions to ‘This Is Living’ by Liam Borrett and ‘Growth’ by Luke Norris.


Who is your theatrical inspiration?

Punchdrunk and Frantic Assembly each made a massive impression on me when I was a young drama geek in school. I love stuff that’s so mad it takes your breath away, so walking into the 3 storey set of ‘The Drowned Man’, with a different world on each floor, asking you to go explore it, game-changing. And I remember watching ‘Lovesong’ by Frantic Assembly and just being so moved. The same couple in their infancy and their old age, both sharing the stage. Then when they started doing the movement sequences together, expressing old memories and love and the fear of the future, all without words, I mean it’s stuck with me to this day. And I’ve also got a lot of love for Paines Plough, rocking out new writing and making sure everyone across the country gets to be on the forefront of contemporary theatre.


If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
Come on now, you already made me pick just one play. I’m going to go with Olivia Coleman. I loved her early work like ‘Peep Show’, then she started getting looks in dramatic roles like ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘Tyrannosaur’, and now she’s getting the proper recognition she deserves with incredible work like ‘The Favourite’, she’s next level. And as a weird little connection, we both went to the same school. Not at the same time, I hate to say, but we did have the same drama teacher.

Salome was originally banned apparently due to the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, however, it is widely accepted it was due to the level of sex and violence in the play. What’s the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
Oh, I plead the 5th. My mum’s gonna read this, you know. Stay in school, kids.

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name, the character you are playing and where you are from.
Hattie Wilkinson I am originally from Essex, and I am playing the role of The Official.

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
I think it was the Lion King. I was very young and went with my family.

What was your first experience of Oscar Wilde?
My first experience was watching the Importance Of Being Ernest on TV. It was the film staring Rupert Everett and Colin Firth and even though I was a lot younger I found the playfulness and immaturity between the two ‘gentleman’ so funny!

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
From my own characters perspective, and being the only female in the play who is not related to Salome, I am excited to find out how The Official feels towards Salome. Especially because my character is from another country and is visiting Judea I’m intrigued to see if Salome’s beauty and energy has the same effect on me.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?

Queen Herodias, definitely! She speaks her mind and comes across strong on that sense but I also feel she is such a tragic character and feel incredibly sorry for her when you look at her marriage.

Salomé has caused much controversy over the years, what play or production has provoked you / made you angry / or caused shock?
I studied Classics in Sixth Form and was fascinated by the play Medea written by Eurpides. I went to see Helen McCory play Medea in a production at the National Theatre, and even though I knew the ending it still shocks me that someone can be driven to such a horrific act! I was still hoping during Medea’s debating monologue that she would change her mind, it was heartbreaking to watch and Helen McCory was fantastic!

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
The Ferryman.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Emma Rice. I love what she did at the Globe.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
Either Margo Robbie or Olivia Coleman because of the range of work they have been able to do! They have played characters that are on the opposite ends of the scale and it real shows of their incredible talent.

Salome was originally banned apparently due to the depiction of Biblical characters on stage, however, it is widely accepted it was due to the level of sex and violence in the play. What’s the naughtiest thing you have ever done?
I couldn’t possible tell you that!

Pre rehearsal...

The creative are putting finishing touches to the design while the cast endeavour to get off book by first day. 
Below our Director shares a few of our images of inspiration of previous Salomé incarnations. 

Lord of the Flies
in rehearsal... 

Over the next few weeks actors and creatives will take you through our Lord of the Flies rehearsal process from pre-production, through rehearsals, into tech and previews to opening night right through to closing night. 
Check in daily for all your rehearsal room goings on.

#LordOfTheFlies #Golding

We are open!

Today was testing. My voice was not feeling fabulous and I’ve spent all day having little panics. Googled every remedy under the sun and drank turmeric tea which is gross and prayed and hoped and dreamed. The first half was hard and scary and I honestly didn’t think I’d make it through the show - but the cast have been INCREDIBLE. Their support and love was the absolute best medicine and it totally gave me confidence and energy and I am so grateful. I am steam city tonight and hopeful to wake up feeling a little less sore but for now I’m so pleased to have such a wicked ensemble with me on this journey. 

Darcy Willison

Day Seventeen.. First Preview....

Grateful. I love this. More more more.
Darcey Willison 
Just finished. It’s 10.30 I feel a little delirious. But we did it! We teched the whole thing and did a dress run. And tomorrow is the big day, we open! I can’t believe it’s tomorrow. Today was so intense but we gave a huge amount of energy. I feel like the show went up a step today and tomorrow it’s going to get even bigger. It looks amazing. I was at the top of the theatre and looked down at the space, and had this moment of ‘oh my god it looks so cool’. Then I obvs had to go back to hunting Ralph and setting the theatre alight. Right this is a short one today but I must be off, I’m knackered, I’m covered in paint, I need sleep and a shower!! Tomorrow! It’s tomorrow! Oh wow it’s tomorrow. Here we go. Let’s do this!

 
Phoebe Stapleton

Day Sixteen... TECH!

I’m so glad to be writing this today. A blog a day for a rehearsal process is a special thing. For me, it allows me to put things in perspective. Things that I could get hung up on - normally selfish things. Personal worries about whether I’m good enough. Whether my choices read on stage. Whether what I’m doing works. Today the ensemble carried me through. We used the word - ensemble - to remind us what we are doing in this space together. To remind us why we make sacrifices to do what we do. To remind us what we are working for. Today was a long, exhausting and demanding day of movement, technical refinement and then we ended it with a run of the whole play. By the end I felt like I was drowning. This happened on more than one occasion - and at every single moment that I needed a life vest someone in the room threw me one. With their choices. Their commitment. Their incredible talent. Their humour and love. I can’t thank them enough. It got me through and made me realise - all over again - the beautiful production that we have. All I can think about right now is sleep. Maybe a bath. We open tomorrow and it’s going to be special.
Ben Victor
Today was FUN. Personally I love tech runs, because it makes everything about details that aren’t actually about the acting, which after 3 weeks of worrying about the acting, is really nice. I can play more because it’s a brand new space and the challenge is to fill it.
There’s a wonderful rule I learnt that my job is to give what the space needs, and my focus is definitely on that during these couple days when we’re getting accustomed to our new home. It’s a magic space and I feel so lucky to be in it.

There are some challenges and we’re finding them personally and as an ensemble. We’re supporting each other wholeheartedly and it’s such a relief to have such a wonderful cast. 

From here I aim to relish every moment of this experience. It’s so special

Darcy Willison
We are in! It’s happening the tech is happening! Controversial opinion - I love tech. I love seeing it all come together and seeing how the story that has so far just been in the studio can grow into something epic, with the help of an amazing creative team. I also think I can love tech, it’s probably a little more stressful for the wonderful creative team that are hanging things, building an entire set, health and safety checking. And then allowing a group of 11 hyper actors to come in and jump all over it. It probably feels like the scene in lion king with the stampede. So thank you creative team!! 

We started teching Act 1 today, it looks and sounds incredible. And I can’t wait to see the rest of all the techy bits today! (I have one thing that I’m particularly excited about, but I can’t say because it’s the ultimate spoiler of all spoilers. You’ll just have to come.) Ricky also gave us his first modern art paint class. Matt (playing Jack) successfully learnt how to cover himself in blood in 30 seconds, the hunters practised their tribal patterns and the gatherers painted their feet. 

Once covered in paint we then discovered there’s no hot water. Ah. The old cold water dash, will be very entertaining to witness every night! But I must be off, tomorrow is a new day, another tech day, biscuits at the ready. Let’s do this!

 
Phoebe Stapleton
WOW today was hard. Even if you’ve been lucky enough to perform in the Greenwich Theatre before, nothing really prepares you for stepping into the space again and bringing what you have into that room. 

It is cavernous, alive and pretty damn daunting. This is the point where we have to watch and listen to eachother - where we have to trust the work and love the playfulness of elevating and shifting what we have into this new and beautiful space.  

It sounds easy, but it’s not. It’s easy to fall into lazy habits. We have to run away from that at a pace. If anything the show is more exhausting, more demanding than ever before. 

These are the times when I’m glad for a good group of people who are kind, and who support eachother. Everyone else in the cast got me through today. I hope I can offer the same support to them tomorrow. 

Ben Victor

Day Fifteen...

Here we go. Bring on Monday!
I am scared and excited and exhilarated all in one. We had our last rehearsal day today and it’s still growing so much. We’re still discovering and exploring and that’s a genuine treat and I love seeing how far we’re all coming. It’s a pleasure to work with everyone and it’ll be bittersweet beginning next week!
I’m apprehensive but so wanting Monday to be right now. It’s gonna be magic.
Darcy Willison
In fact, it’s Saturday. I tried to write this yesterday but got quite emotional (Friday nights drinks may have been a factor...) and decided to delay it by a few hours.

We’ve come to the end of our time in the rehearsal room with Lazarus for Lord Of The Flies 2019. I honestly couldn’t be prouder. My primary aim for this production was to not bring any hangovers from last year’s run into the room. I hope I haven’t done this. I certainly feel that this production is new - for me and as a whole - it is different. I’m excited about where Simon will lead me over the next few weeks. The team and cast is inspirational - and let’s face it - the world is a different place too. Inevitably Lord Of The Flies will mean something different in 2019. What’s more, I believe this incredible group of humans will do Golding’s novel justice. More than justice. This is our version. It is also something communal - something to be shared. Every moment we work on this show, we add detail and challenge perceptions of what it is to be human. To be an animal. We are finding a flow and navigation to the production as a whole and - in truth - this is only the beginning.

Next week we begin Lord Of The Flies 2019. The start of something. I can’t wait.

 
Ben Victor
And just like that the final rehearsal is finished. I’m going to miss that sweaty studio, where we started on day one with the text and a huge amount of excitement. And now. We have a play! A beast of a play! It’s amazing how time has flown by. But we have achieved so much. We started with a script and now we have our story. I can’t wait to share our version, it feels very far from the GCSE text I read before coming in the room. Sorry Mrs Ashby but there’s no pretty analysis anymore! Oh no. This is ours and it’s wild. The kind of bestial, uncomfortable wild that this play cries out for. Everything comes from the gut, full of emotion and energy. And I hope our audience has one hell of a ride getting involved with that. I keep saying to people, that I wish I could have seen our show when I was 15. Firstly, I would have found it super cool and wanted to jump up with the hunters. But secondly, I didn’t see this sort of gritty, energetic, and wild theatre until I was a bit older - I remember a company coming in and performing a play about recycling... Whereas if I could have seen this play. Where nobody in the company holds back, they give their everything. It would have got me so excited about theatre. And I hope we have that effect, especially on the younger people in the audience. I don’t feel like we’ve come to the end but we’ve just past a chapter. And now the real task begins. I can’t wait to share our play and I can’t wait to see how it evolves in the theatre.
Anyway must be off, still got some spear practise to fit in. I had a bit of an accident with the end of my spear on Friday... it seems to be on a wonk now. Hope the neighbours don’t mind.
Back soon - Oh and see you at the Greenwich!
Phoebe Stapleton

Day Fourteen...

It’s all coming together. I can barely walk. Tonight I need to rest the hell out of my voice and my body because this show is a triathlon. I cannot express how proud I am of everyone involved in this project. It’s only going to grow from day to day now - and in fact, it feels like now it will jump drastically to a new place every time we run the show. People are finding their feet and we are finding our heartbeat. When it flows this is something to behold. I don’t think you’ll want to miss it. You might even want to come back.
Ben Victor
Can’t talk.  Brain is fried.  Body tired.  Proud
Darcy Willison
First run done! We did it! Everything in my body hurts but I think that’s a good sign! I’m exhausted. Oli fell on the floor after the run and let out a massive sound (vocally thank god) but I think that’s exactly the level we have to feel at the end of the run. I’m happy with our first run, I feel like I now understand the whole order of events. But for the next run I want to play more, particularly in part one. When things are a little more sunny. Wow it’s exciting though isn’t it! We’ve got a play! I feel like skipping down this Sainsbury’s aisle! We are going for another run tomorrow. Then that’s it. The comfort of our lovely sweaty studio will be over! But for now I need a long hot bath and a whole jar of tiger balm. 
Phoebe Stapleton

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
Alice Hutchinson – Ralph

Where in the world are you from?
Lancashire!

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
A classic – Mary in the nativity at school.

What was your first experience of Lord of the Flies?
I read it at school and thought it was mad and so interesting.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
The beast and the way the imaginative idea of the beast spreads throughout the island to each person. The fear of the beast develops differently for everyone and I think that’s really exciting to explore.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
It has to be Piggy.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Things I Know To Be True by Andrew Bovell

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
I’m really inspired by Simon Stephens – I think he’s a wonderful writer with his northern voice firmly rooted in his work.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor? Andrew Scott

What’s your favourite school yard game?
Stuck in the mud

Day Thirteen...

This isn't the best but today I am simply too tired to write anything. We worked the show's ending and it is MAMMOTH. I am completely spent. Tomorrow we do it all over again. Time for bed.
Ben Victor
Omg full run tomorrow. Paint. Hoodies. It’s overwhelming and amazing all in one. I’m excited. I’m SO excited.
Can’t think. Too tired.
Darcy Willison
The days are flying now! We are 2 rehearsals away from being in the Greenwich!! Ahhhh!!! Nobody panic! I could feel the energy in the rehearsal room today. We are all getting more and more excited to get in the space. The show feels like its bursting out of the rehearsal room walls now. I’m afraid to say it *tiny voice * but I think we are ready to go up a notch! I can’t wait to get in that space and to start really owning it. As we find more detail throughout the show, it’s becoming more and more like ours. Yes we obvs have to thank the old William Golding, but everything that happens is ours. And we keep pushing it further, to find more and more play in the characters. This afternoon we ran Act 3. I keep saying this - your all probs like yes Phoebe how are you still surprised by this but.... Act 3 is really fast! Blink and the next thing you know I’m leaping around as an ape trying to kill one of my cast. Sorry Alice, Golding made me do it. After that we did a little bit of ‘conchography’ a fancy word for - chuck the conch around and do NOT drop it. Sounds easy but picture sweaty hands and spiky things. (Or don’t picture that!) I know it’s not over yet but I’m going to really miss these studio rehearsals. The days are always jam packed and you leave feeling like you’ve 1. Earned a massive dinner and 2. With a huge sense of achievement. But we are not there yet! Tomorrow we are running the whole show (ah), I’m interested to discover how the game changes from Act 1, to Act 2, to Act 3 where there isn’t any game any more. But for now I must go,  I’ve got a lot of script to check over and of course a massive dinner to make!
Back soon,
Phoebe Stapleton

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
My name is Benjamin Victor and I’m playing Simon.

Where in the world are you from?
I’m from London! A rare breed in the city.

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
I memorably wet myself as Father Christmas in the Courtland Primary School Christmas Performance – aged 4.

What was your first experience of Lord of the Flies?
I barely remembered the book from school – but I had the incredible opportunity to be a part of Lazarus’ Flies in 2018 and fell in love with it completely. I’m so thrilled to be finding it again this year.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
A conversation with something that isn’t a human. I won’t say any more for now…

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Sam. It wasn’t even on my radar before this year, but the part is hilarious.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
That’s a tough one. Probably Many Moons by Alice Birch.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Ian McKellen. Many others, but right now he stands out.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?

See above.

What’s your favourite school yard game?
British Bulldog is hard to resist. I also managed to get Pokémon Cards banned from my school. Oops.

Day Twelve... 

We did it. We’ve gone through the whole thing. And it’s EPIC! I’m so excited. I don’t think I fully understood it till now. The ending is madness and I’m more animal than human by the final stretch.
Stretch... my body. It’s more flexible but just so tired. I’m exhausted and I don’t think I knew exhaustion before this. It’s a good thing though, can’t think when I’m that tired and it’s all impulse instead of heady-ness. I feel like these things don’t make sense any more. Am I making sense?
Who knows.
Darcy Willison
Wowee. I just got a jolt of electricity in my veins. We ran act 3 today - the final chunk of Lord Of The Flies. The head of the animal that is the play. We are still finding it, but it felt incredible. Journeys find their furthest most point and the detail and specificity of the play goes up to an entirely new level. For me, this point in the play transcends whatever has come before. There is something new flowing in its veins - and it isn’t blood. This week is going to expect a lot - and in the end it is going to show us what we can do.
Ben Victor
We’ve finished blocking the show and we ran Act 3! Wow. It was a knackering day but it’s all there! Obvs some big eggy egg moments but it’s there! Act 3 is complicated in a slightly different way, as the characters have really progressed by this point. They are even more savage but at the same time calculating. The aggressive acts are completely different to the first half, as Jack plans everything we are going to do and we willingly follow. In the morning we had Julia and have been discovering the physical change in Act 3. For me, I’ve placed my energy much lower and find times to move on all fours. But this is no first year at drama school animal studies! (As much as I did enjoy being a lizard) Oh no, this is about finding the animalistic quality within ourselves. We first get a glimpse of this at the .... * SPOILER * killing of Simon, but now this animal quality is in them for the whole act. I’m gonna explore this more tomorrow! But for now - Better be off, I’ve walked on all fours for a long time, jumped around a lot and now I definitely deserve a spag bowl!
Back soon,
Phoebe Stapleton

60 Seconds with... 

Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
Oliver Franks playing Henry

Where in the world are you from?
The magical land of the Lake District

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
Our year 6 musical production of The Button Box – it wasn’t as good as it sounds.

What was your first experience of Lord of the Flies?
Stumbled upon the film while flicking through TV channels as a kid. Wasn’t what I expected.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
Oh definitely the bit where Simon… Well I don’t want to spoil it…

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Roger, he seems like a sound guy (if a little bit scary)

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Road by Jim Cartwright. It’s got my favourite scene from any piece of theatre or film. If you know the play you may know which bit I mean.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Frantic Assembly. After seeing their production of Beautiful Burnout I knew I wanted to pursue acting.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?

Ewan McGregor. ‘Nuff said.

What’s your favourite school yard game?
Block (like hide and seek but with much higher stakes)

Day Eleven...

Ooooooh. Now we are getting into the nitty gritty. Today was brilliant for me because I had the opportunity to watch a lot of what was taking place in the rehearsal room. I was still active - but I also got to see other people putting moments together. I was reminded that in this play, anything less than 100% can fall flat in seconds. That can be hard when discovering moments for the first time, but it is so important to go further than you think is needed. It’s a reminder for all of us in our final week that now is the time to bring everything up another level. Then when we get into the Greenwich Theatre we will do the same.
Ben Victor
And breathe. Time to kill piggy... this is when stuff comes to fruition and it’s been really exciting to see where these characters are in the second half of the story. It’s a jump from the first half, but from what we explored today and what we’re looking at exploring over the next few days, the rhythm of it all is sinking in now. I can see it and feel it and I think we’re all starting to have a communal understanding of what this thing is. At the weekend we all re read the play, out loud, for fun. And you know what - it was fun. A lot of fun. And I saw and heard things I’ve never heard before and remembered that these are relatively normal kids in a really not normal situation. In the very first week we asked the question ‘is evil innate or man made?’ And now I’m not so sure that I would act the same way if this happened to me.
I’m not nervous yet, I don’t know if I should be. I’m excited. And I trust and respect all of our ensemble and team. We’re starting to push each other and it’s good. We’ve got a good thing.
Darcy Willison
Annndddd we are back! Week 3 has kicked off. The Greenwich is getting closer by the second. We finalised a few bits in the first half and started to tackle Act 3. Oh Piggy. Poor Piggy. It’s not looking good for Piggy. We had Nicola in today to make some powerful sound scapes, that will be filling the space and adding some atmos ooo! Working through act 3 we started to look at the characters having a even more savage energy. They come on low to the ground and ready to attack. I’m interested to see how this can develop. And to keep discovering the change in the characters between the different acts. Anyway must be off, need to stretch - Julia is back tomorrow! Bring on the sweat!
Phoebe Stapleton

Day Ten...

I don’t want to alarm anyone but that’s the end of week 2. How has time gone so fast!? We did a run through of Act 1 and 2, crickey. You know, when runners start a race and they shift their weight onto the balls of their feet and wait for the gun to go off... well I feel like I’m in that state permanently for the whole first half. Probably for the whole play but we are doing Act 3 next week. Eek. I have finished the week on a high, I’m proud of what we have achieved and how much energy we are all giving. There’s still a lot to do, and a lot of questions to be answered. But if that wasn’t the case we would all wrap up there, take a quick trip to Minorca and see you on the opening night! But no no. No get away for us, there is plenty to do. It’s the weekend. You know the drill get ya dancing shoes at the ready! But for me... I think this weekend my dancing shoes are my slippers, my script it my best friend and the kettle is in for a busy couple of days. One more week of studio rehearsals. Then the Greenwich is ours!
Phoebe Stapleton 
Today was a big one. I learnt a lot. We ran everything we’ve done so far - and as usual, I had a lot of things I wanted to bring into the room. Sometimes these are choices, offers, or a way of working. For me this is a good template but - once again - I had my eyes opened to how easy it is to fabricate moments in this show. It is easier to ignore what is happening in front of you - or what is on the page - and fill space. As actors we do this because we are worried about not being good enough, not doing a good job. The truth is, all we have to worry about is truth. If we are honest, and listening, and paying real attention to one another in the moment then the play flows. It is dynamic and new and beautiful every time. Going into week 3, I need to remember that. I’m beaming to go into week 3.
Ben Victor

Day Nine...

I can feel it in my bones. I’m feeling less overwhelmed and anxious and more excited. This is thing is starting to feel like our own and I’m proud of us all. We are working hard and listening better and speaking the same language a bit more now. The trip to the theatre was perfect. Something to just get the blood going. In two weeks we show this and ourselves to the world and tell a brilliant story. I’m saying less and less each day because it’s all starting to make a bit more sense. I’m just happy and grateful and excited.
Darcy Willison
Oh it’s big. We went to Greenwich theatre. It’s a beast! But a really great beast. I love it. The show is so epic that it requires a space this massive. I think this play is very exposing about human beings and well there aint any hiding on that stage!! I’m excited to move in that space, to run around in it. Probably jump up and down with excitement. We are so lucky to have that space and yeah I think we are all going to embrace how epic it is. We have to! I’m a bit afraid. But good afraid. Seeing the space it’s now sunk in how much energy this play actually requires. I’m a little happy that we get to creep back to our studio tomorrow. I need to practise and keep building up to this level of energy. It was a very movement heavy day. We made something exciting, I can’t wait to do it in the space. Tomorrow we are going back over the first part of the play. And well, you know the drill. Friday tomorrow dancing shoes at the ready!!
Back soon,
Phoebe Stapleton

Day Eight...

Feeling good. Thinking good.
Excited and happy and ready.


Darcy Willison

Wow wow wow. It really feels like we are starting to add detail now. A lot is still up for grabs - but every time I look around I see my cast mates making new, brilliant choices. We are putting the text under a microscope and refining, examining and bringing out the truth of what the script is telling us. I find this so exciting. I feel myself doing it too. It brings you to a place of heightened awareness - but also a place of playfulness. Finding controlled ways to navigate the play that are constantly alive, constantly new. With a cast of 11 that sounds so much easier than it is. We must listen. Everyday. Closely, honestly. It’s a special time in the creative process.

 
Ben Victor
Day - something something. Literally who knows anymore. Today was a good day. I know it’s not very cool to say. Not very serious actor of me... but I’m having so much fun! I’ve come away from today just feeling so happy. The show is really coming together. We’ve mapped out the first half. It’s so full on, in all the good ways. There’s so much energy and just arghhh you have to come and see it!! It’s mad how yesterday my brain was really all over the place, but today I’m like ok ok we’ve got this. The theatre gods probably have something in store for the end of the week, so I’m not lulled into this false security. At the end of the day we started to have a discussion about chaos. And how in the play we have to be out of control, but in control, of our out of control... (you with me?) Because if we actually go fully out of control. The audience will be cut off from us. So we have to balance on a fine line between the two. I’m looking forward to exploring that a little further. I think I’ve started to do that a in some movement sections, but there’s so many different areas that it can be discovered. Full on movement day tomorrow. Jheeze. Sorry staff at sell a door, there might be a rather fruity smell. Right deodorant at the ready. Dinner in the oven. Let’s do this.

 
Phoebe Stapleton

Day Seven.... 

Ok I’m feeling good. We’re being pushed to our limits and it’s testing but my better instinct is telling me this is when the good stuff happens. Every day has been sweaty, but today was the most mentally challenging because the movement did not stop. I’m rarely at the point of ‘I can’t keep going’ but today I was there. 

I’ve liked that the movement days come in between the text based days. Keeps up reconnecting with the more animal side of these characters I think.

Our warm up changed (new squats were so tough but we all looked ridiculous so I just tried to laugh through it) and then we mixed up are usual ball game. This was good and a real lesson about keeping things new and alive. I like the idea of constantly discovering... what’s gonna be new this time? 

We really feel like a team and we sweat and work and succeed and fail together. That’s awesome and I think the most important thing of all. After all as someone very wise once said ‘it’s never about you’.

Darcy Willison
Today I reminded myself how much I love to move - and how sweaty I am.

 
Ben Victor
Ok today wins. That was the most sweaty. Thank you Julia as always!! This afternoon we made the transition between Act 1 and 2. It’s 1 minute 57 and 101 things happen! My brain has gone into a bit of a blurrghhhherhhhb (Couldn’t think of a word to describe it, a sound is best). This morning we carried on with Act 2. I think I need to go home. Correction. Go to Sainsbury’s get pancakes. Then go home and just process everything that we did today. My mind is a bit all over. I keep thinking of that Kate Bush song Wuthering Heights. Oh god have I hit the rehearsal process wall!? Well only up from here!  Anyway. Happy Pancake Day everyone.

Phoebe Stapleton

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
Denis Rai – I’m playing the character Bill.

Where in the world are you from?
It’s a weird one for me. I was born in Hong Kong but I’m from Nepal originally however grew up in London.

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
I was only little, maybe 9 or 10 when I did a public speaking/speech in front of the whole school. Sort of like a talent competition. I just remembered my mind being blank but able to recite all the words with a strange tone of voice. I guess that’s when I realised what adrenaline felt like!

What was your first experience of Lord of the Flies?
I was in college and the year below me did a show based on the book. I remember vividly it being so loud and tiring.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
I think for me it would be the relationships built around the circumstances and how much of it changes. Good or bad!

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Simon. He’s weird.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
All the people I’ve ever shared the room with!

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
The Rock. He reminds me of my dad!

What’s your favourite school yard game?
Cops and Robbers!

Day Six...

I spent so long mulling over the first day of week 2 that I forgot to write this until the next morning! Act 2 in the play is big for Simon. For everyone. There are big, fast-paced, cinematic and scenic shifts. Everything happens quickly and must be detailed, intricate, precise. I also think it shapes the trajectory of each individual in the play and what comes next - which can only be described as epic. It was a big day mentally and I felt we broke the back of many new moments. An important day for me and a boost for the start of week 2.


Ben Victor

I am tired. But good tired. Today was great and it feels like things are really happening. It was amazing to see the difference between act 1 and act 2 - they feel so different and I can’t wait to see what act 3 has in store. The characters are stating to come alive a bit more but right now I’m just trying not to hit anyone with a spear. Although I failed today. Sorry Phoebe.
Consolidation and preserving energy feels like the mission right now. Peace out!

Darcy Willison
Hello Monday. We’re back. No time for the Monday morning slog, we were straight into the squats. Oh yeah. Feel the burn. 

We have started Act 2, and I don’t know why we expected anything less but it is a bit of a logistical nightmare! There’s loads of different settings all happening at once. So you’ve got the beach, the hill, and Sam and Eric crawling through the woods. We started playing with switching focus. So like in a film you zoom in on areas then cut to somewhere else. In theory seems simple but when you’re there trying to slaughter a pig (I really hope that’s not a spoiler, people have read this book right?) - whilst there’s a million other things going on it is a little tricky!! However Act 2 does feel like there is a little more space. In the sense Golding sets up this idea of spiritual symbolism towards the night time. This is particularly seen in Simon. Simon’s a bit like that guy who’s gone on his gap year to Thailand, and became very connected with the elements. Golding taps into the  human psyche of being afraid of the dark, as it is the unknown. Simon (played by Ben Victor) has this great line, “You can see the moon from out here. However bad it gets, you can always see the moon.”- I really like it. Anyway must be off. All this talk of pig, I’ve been craving ham, egg and chips all day. Sorry vegans that’s not very millennial of me. 

 
Phoebe Stapleton

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
Phoebe Stapleton as Maurice

Where in the world are you from?
London

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
My primary schools nativity. I played ‘The Star’ and just stood at the back for the whole thing holding a cardboard star and smiling. Oscar winning.

What was your first experience of Lord of the Flies?
I read the book when I was young and built a den on top of my climbing frame, as if it was Ralph’s shelter. And my sister was ‘The Beast’. Obviously.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
* Spoiler Alert * The ending when the officer comes to the island. Experiencing that overwhelming feeling of ‘oh my god what have we done’.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
SIMON! What a guy. I feel like we would be friends in real life.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
‘Tis Pity she’s a whore’. Discovered it when I was 15 and trying to be a rebel.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
Robert Wilson. I saw his production of Faust I und II. 4 hours of the most insane theatre. It felt like 30 seconds.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?

Anna Calder-Marshall. I saw her in LOVE at the National and have never been so moved by a performance. She’s incredible. If I could have like a little pinky’s worth of her talent I would die happy.

What’s your favourite school yard game?
…. I would make potions in my lunch box and throw them at the ‘witches’. AKA the bushes in the playground. Great game.

Day Five...

No blog. Just bed. End of week 1. Night night all.
Ben Victor
Day 5 - Excuse me? It’s end of week 1 already?! Time has just gone. Julia gave us an extremely sweaty morning, so I’m sure my muscles will be crying tomorrow! We got the choreography down for the opening. I’ve never felt so cool in my life. It’s epic, I can’t wait to do it on the massive Greenwich stage. In the afternoon, I think we were all quite surprised by our progress, and I don’t want to jinx anything but... we ran Act 1. Obviously a little bumpy in parts, but on the whole it was so good to feel the speed of the play, and experience the order of events. Obvs no spoilers but within the first 20 mins I think I’ve done about 15 laps of the space. It’s like a  complex bleep test. The energy that is required is immense and that’s only act 1. On Monday we are going to go through all the events that take place (there’s a lot). It will be good to get these events into our bodies so in the moment we can experience them impulsively. Rather than being like ‘mmmmm yep so I’ve got the shell now what’s gonna happen ...maybe a fire?’ We need to know it inside out, so we don’t even have to think what’s next. Anyway must be off, dancing shoes at the ready. It’s the weekend everyone!

Day Four... 

Wowweeeeee. It all feels a bit mental right now. My brain is fried but today was a lot of fun and I was gutted when it was time to go home. We’ve really started playing with the story and I can see it now when I couldn’t really before. I think it’s all still a bit of the old ‘first week running around like headless chickens’, well that’s how I feel anyway, but I’m kind of banking on the fact that from this is where the brilliance comes.
I like Ricky’s idea of what theatre should be - and I think it’s a nice place to be as an actor, ‘I’m not making anything up I’m just being there’ kind of a vibe.
I usually have a lot more to say but right now I really don’t. I wish I knew everything but I don’t so right now, confused and blissfully unsure is me.
Darcy Willison
Today was fascinating. The benefit of journeys from Deptford back to North London is that you get time to debrief. Honestly, this is invaluable for me. Notes and moments from the day begin to sink in and settle in my bones. I have just had a fantastic chat with Lucy (Perceval) about our work on the text - and how much I am discovering. Every single day seems to unearth new truths - approaches to this text that I feel I may have lost or forgotten. They all come back to what is written. We spoke today about a stripping away of any pre-conceived ideas (for me, a removal of any assumption who Simon is) and discovering things actively, in the moment of the play. Action in this play moves lightning fast and the best way to keep up is to be open to that energy. Conversely, anticipating a mood or feeling can be poisonous. I need to keep reminding myself of this and allow the play to be enjoyed in all its fullness. That might sound daunting, but it’s actually hugely empowering. End of week one, here we come.
Ben Victor
This. Play. Is. So. Fast! You have to be so on it. Really it seems to fly. We started working through Act 1 today. And discovered quite how much happens, literally every second. You have no time to think, you just have to throw yourself at it and hope for the best. But isn’t that what kids do? They don’t stand there and go ‘hmmm yes I would really like to get the ball, and play a delightful game of catch’. No. They already have the ball and are lobbing it at someone else! Obviously trying to work logistics of that is tricky- Seriously. I think I had a full on glitch at one point! I can’t give any spoilers, you’ll have to come (wink wink). But there’s so many different ideas, what we made so far is full of playful energy, and it’s really creating this epic game that the characters get completely lost in. At the end of the day we had a power cut, OR a visit from William Golding’s ghost perhaps... anyway must be off. Ricky says it’s back to sweaty sweat sweat tomorrow. My washing machine has never seen so much action.
Phoebe Stapleton

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
Tommy Carmichael – Piggy

Where in the world are you from?
Originally from Doncaster but now living in Bath

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
Apart from the copious amounts of Nativities I was in (playing Joseph, tea towel and all), I was in an amateur production of The Wizard Of Oz. I played a munchkin.

What was your first experience of Lord of the Flies?
My first experience of Lord of the Flies was an amateur production in Doncaster, playing the role of Piggy, 11 years ago.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
It’s not so much a singular event, but I’m most excited about transferring our rehearsals into the space at Greenwich Theatre, and discovering how that will change what we’ve created.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Simon! Simon goes on a journey different from the others, exploring the island, seeing everything in a more creative and beautiful way.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
It’s like being asked ‘What is your favourite musical?’… I have no idea as it changes every week. This week it’s Karagula by Philip Ridley, but next week it could be 1984, or Shakespeare’s good old A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
This is a difficult question. I am inspired by a net of people who drive me to improve, challenge me creatively and support me through times of hardship and need. All the teachers, directors, actors and creatives who I’ve had experiences with in theatre have given me a little piece of inspiration every time we speak. Also, all the friends and family who constantly tell me to believe in myself. Thank you!

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
From Judy Garland, a woman who constantly surprised me in the varying roles she played with such truth and passion, to Maggie Smith and her ability to make you forget you’re watching Maggie Smith! There are countless others, but you’d be here all day!

What’s your favourite school yard game?
Tig! (Or Tag… or It… but I’m Northern… so it’s Tig!)

Day Three...

Ooooooh I can feel my hips! Today we moved some more - different to yesterday it was (for me) about a mentality, a layer on top of how we move. We played with sound, rhythm, vocals, pace - always listening and responding to one another. As we went through the morning, this movement was so sustained, so intense and so communal that it became connected, instinctive. I feel literally drained. For me it was a revelation to see what I do in that state - and who I am now compared to years before. Rhythm and response taps into something animal, something guttural. It’s opening up a whole new world to us.
   
Ben Victor
Ha ha ha ha ha. This is me laughing at myself thinking yesterday was physically intense. Today I am all jelly legs and sweat. At one point I thought I’d never be dry. Sorry for the graphic. The whole morning was impulse and instinct which was awesome. I think the exhaustion forced us out of our heads into something much more honest and in the body. Being able to lose inhibitions was a great feeling, and I went into the afternoon which a much greater sense of trust in everyone. There’s something really liberating about going so full and so hard that once you’re kind of out there, everything is a bit less scary. You’ve been seen now - no more hiding. 

After a very physically demanding morning, we looked at each others research and I enjoyed history more than I ever have before. What was great is that we ended up having discussions which you can never just have from reading or learning information. I’ve come away and I think we all have, with a bit more understanding of the kind of questions and ideas this play brings up, and our own opinions on it. I find myself wondering about morals and instinct and whether or not what I know of good and evil is really the truth or just something I’ve learnt and been told. There’s a lot to be said about humans and our ability to think over just feel and I think this play really points at that. Without our ability to think in the way we do we are just animals...

Darcy Willison
Right. Sign me up to master mind. John Humphrey’s get those questions ready. My topic. Flies. No. Lord of the Flies. Excuse me while I take my clever-clogs hat off. But we’ve had an entire afternoon of research. My brain is gonna blow with so much information. It’s true. Denis playing Bill even put his intellectual  specs on. We each had 10 mins to share research on different subjects that make up the play. A hard task. Larissa and Alice did an amazing job at covering the political structure of 1950s England in 10 mins. Crikey, we’d make a good pub quiz team! Our research opened lots of great discussions that really interrogated the play and made us think contextually about what was going on when Golding wrote the book. 

Oh and the morning? Well I don’t really know how to explain the morning, it was like a hyper version of David Attenborough Dynasties doc. My legs burn! We did this 4 step in a circle, creating a repetitive beat, then we took turns  to build on the rhythm, with different steps, vocals, movement. Well that’s what happened the first few rounds then it went further... further..... next thing I know we’re all smacking a pillar, howling, jumping, beating the floor. But that’s just a pretty standard day with Ricky, I guess. Who knows what Friday night drinks are gonna be like if a Wednesday morning is this wild.
Anyway must be off, there’s a jacket potato in the oven with my name on it.
Back soon,

Phoebe Stapleton

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
Matt Penson and I’m playing Jack Merridew.

Where in the world are you from?
London

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
I was cast as the evil King Herod in the nativity…twice.

What was your first experience of Lord of the Flies?
This show is my first experience of ‘Lord of the Flies’. It’s a book that I’ve always known I should have read. I’ve really enjoyed that I’ve got to know the story through this process.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
The journey from civilised to savagery.

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
I really enjoy the twins. Eric n’ Sam.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
I know it maybe a cliche but ‘Hamlet’…or ‘The Pillowman’ I can’t decide.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
I don’t think I could pick just one. All my friends and family, all my teachers and directors through the years and all the great actors I’ve got to work with and admired growing up. I try as much as I can to surround myself with people who inspire me.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
Right now…David Tennant.

What’s your favourite school yard game?
Piggy in the middle!

Day Two...

SWEAT BABY SWEAT a Texas something something baby... sorry. But it’s true I smell bad. We all smell bad. Day 2 - Julia  the movement director shook things up today! We were jumping around as monkeys, exploded as bombs and flew around the room. All before lunch. Thank god. But seriously (for a bit). We got into the head space of what it would be like physically on the island. We worked with levels of tension, and played around with different states applied to a scene. I’ll give an example. Piggy played by Tommy started exploring state one - which is absolutely zero, just a blob, that can hardly move. Although fun, Piggy lying face down wasn’t quite what he wanted. Next he explored state 4 which is on edge, alert, looking around. This really gave Piggy the naive, anxious energy, that suited the start of the play. 

Next, of course, time for an obstacle course! Hang in there, there is a link I promise. Blind folded we scramble across chairs, go under a table and dodge some sticky tape. Ricky calls it ‘obstacle course of hell’. After a few competitive rounds. (No my team did not win, but it’s about taking part...) We discussed the feeling of the familiar becoming unknown. As soon as the blind fold is put on the space becomes intimidating and puts you on edge. Kind of like the no mans land that the characters in the play are so afraid of. If you haven’t got the beach to cling on to or the mountain to look out. What is that bit in the middle? You know, it’s uncomfortable, strange and well, something else could be there.


Maybe the beast!? ..BUT that’s for tomorrow. Research research tomorrow! And a bit of Act 1, I think. Anyway must go, I’ve been standing in this Sainsbury’s aisle in front of the peppers for a little too long. 


Phoebe Stapleton

Sweat is the word of the day. I am totally exhausted and strangely enough less overwhelmed. I’m also trying to make these blogs as open and unfiltered as possible and it’s liberating actually. Today was a lot of fun, I had a lot of joy exploring and playing and started to see us all really find a bit more freedom. Working with Julia was great, and gave me a sense of the essence of the thing we’re making. 

These past few days have been a pretty eye opening look into professional work. It’s the first time in a while I’ve stepped back and said ‘after all, this is my job’. I can be quite emotional and attached to the whole industry, but taking a step back helps me look at it a bit more objectively. I have to tell a story, in the right way, so that what we’re trying to say really lands. It isn’t about what I want, or what I want people to think, but actually just being honest and doing the story justice by telling it how it really is.

It feels like at the moment, we’re tearing the text and story apart and seeing what we find. And then tomorrow by the sounds of things, we start putting it back together. 

I still have no idea who Roger is, but I quite like that. I think if I ever feel like I do, I’m either kidding myself or I’ve given up looking.
This show is going to be tough. But I think in that, the discoveries we all find with be big both professionally as creators and actors, and for our characters and the story. 

Bring on day 3!

Darcy Willison
Today was a big one! Movement. Movement. Movement. Knackered. But it felt so good to test our bodies and remind us what we are capable of. Watching other people lift each other and find language - in an out of movement - was something very special. I learned again that I can take weight as well as be lifted - I worked with Tommy - and I know Simon lifting Piggy is not something you might normally expect to see but it felt wonderful. We made something meaningful and it was eye opening to play with that dynamic.

 
Ben Victor

60 Seconds with...

Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
My name is Darcy Willison, and I’m playing Roger.

Where in the world are you from?
I’m from Watford, UK.

What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
I saw Britney Spears in concert when I was 5 and that was hugely theatrical! Serious one, I played Little Cosette in our schools production of Les Mis when I was 10.

What was your first experience of Lord of the Flies?
I studied Lord of the Flies at GCSE for our English class with our teacher Mrs Bomford! She was great and none of us could believe how mean they all were.

What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
Either the very very end or Piggy’s death… (sorry spoilers)

Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
I love Sam n Eric – kind of impossible to pick between them.

Tell us the title of your favourite play.
Natives.

Who is your theatrical inspiration?
My theatrical inspiration as of right now is a company called Boundless Theatre.

If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
Jim Carrey.

What’s your favourite school yard game?
Red Rover (before it got banned!)

Day One...

What a day! We’ve started. Today was absolutely fascinating for me - our first launch into Lord Of The Flies 2019. You may not know this, but I am the only member of our cast who was also involved in the 2018 run at the Greenwich Theatre.

 I was always conscious - once I knew that I would be playing Simon in 2019 - that nothing should be the way it was beforehand. That isn’t to say that there weren’t wonderful aspects to the original production - of course there were! I’m proud of all of it. All I mean to say is that, for all of us, it is crucial to come into this process with an open mind. I felt that acutely today. This morning we ran the entire play - script in hand, up on our feet.

It was immediately easy to notice the balance that must be struck. Listening and responding to everyone within the space - but I also knew that I would be doing the play a disservice if I immediately reverted to easy choices that might have been found in a different version of this production. In fact I’ve discussed this with Matt (Jack), Darcy (Roger), Tommy (Piggy) and possibly more. The voices in this room - our room - are not the same as any previous production. The ideas on display are not the same. The variables will take us to a place that is new and undiscovered. That is a very exciting beginning.
Ben Victor

Day one - Lord of the Flies, you know that book that everyone seems to study at GCSE, and just sort of come to the conclusion that they are a load of rabid boys on an island. Yeah that one. But surely that couldn’t happen to all of us? We say as we sip on our civilised mocha soy lattes. Well, guess what, we can. Everyone can. This is a play about humans and the way we respond to the circumstances we are put in. - that was our first discovery as we sat in our morning circle discussing the play. 


A very good circle I’ll have you know. Obviously all those years of drama school training have been put into practise, as we did make a very round circle. Now looking at the circle - there’s one obvious thing. Women! A 50 / 50 split infact. Spoiler alert!! This is actually a woman writing. Before starting this project I had a number of people say ‘but that’s a boys play’ - I respond (whilst my body cringes ever so slightly) - but girls could do it too. William Golding taps into the primal instinct of human beings, it’s not a matter of gender. It’s what humans actually do. And though it might be a little bleak (especially for a Monday), but we destroy each other. Of course that’s not all we do! But surely this can be applied to society now, and our lack of empathy? 


We’ve got a movement day tomorrow, I’m sure we’ll be exploring these primal urges. So I better be off, got to practise my spear skills (hope the neighbours don’t mind). 


Back soon. 

Phoebe AKA Maurice or as Ricky likes to call it Mozza!? Like some sort of awkward children’s party DJ. 


Phoebe Stapleton
Day one was alot. In the best of ways, but still, a lot of information. We’ve known about the show for some time and having all that time to wait and think and wonder had some interesting implications. I think you can prepare as much as you like but it never is what you expect on that first day. I feel like I’ve come home with a ton of information that will take much longer to process in my head than it did to listen to. 

Generally speaking, I like to come into a room with an open mind about process and I’ve never been set in my ways about what that is as an actor. For me, it’s much more fun to figure out how a director likes to work and then see how I can work with that and the whole ensemble so that we’re speaking the same language. Well, Ricky likes detail. Lots of it. More than I’m used to if I’m honest - but that’s exciting. I’ve worked in a ton of text detail before and sometimes I end up feeling a bit trapped and bound by it, but doing my ‘pointing’ this evening I’ve found quite the opposite. It’s starting to open up the text a lot, and really answer a lot of questions about how the character should be ‘approached’. I say that with inverted commas because really I don’t like approaching ‘characters’ - whatever ‘character’ means. I guess what I mean is that it’s revealing or helping me discover the truth in this person and I guess whatever my connection to that is. 

I’m excited for movement day and to sweat a lot. I also am working to get rid of my assumptions as we discussed today. It’s pretty easy to paint Rodger as a nasty piece of work from the get go, but I think the more I challenge my own assumptions, the more I’ll challenge the audiences too...

Day 2 here we go!

Darcy Willison
A brilliant blast into the world of Lord of the Flies in our first rehearsal today. It is always rewarding to learn how different theatre companies work and Lazarus, thus far, has been no exception! I’m excited to explore the world, the text, and my fellow cast members. Every actor works differently, and it’s exploring and solving how you slot your puzzle piece into your fellow actors pieces that helps build a great ensemble, and we’ve made one hell of a crack at it today. There has been openness, playfulness and freedom, all of which are needed to represent the not-so-innocent children of the story, and this is all done in a safe and welcoming environment. On a personal note, I am forever striving to hone my craft as a performer and today has sparked a thirst to push myself intellectually, and tomorrow I am lead to believe we will be pushed to our limits and further physically. Bring it on.

 
Tommy Carmichael