Christopher Wright is one of our most popular actors having appeared on our stage many times over the years. In Wanted! Robin Hood he plays (amongst other roles!) the part of Sir Eustace, the Sheriff of Nottingham’s evil sidekick. As he reveals, he’s also responsible for some animal handling in the show…
I trust this is not giving away too much but during the course of our play I administer poison, make an attempt on Marian’s life with a blade, get knocked unconscious for my pains and suffer evisceration by the Sheriff of Nottingham. That’s just rehearsals, now we get to do it all for real – one night only folks! Not really of course, it’s just pretend, and don’t forget this is for audiences aged six years and upwards but now the really serious part starts, it’s tech week.
All the elements missing in the rehearsal room; set, costumes, lights, music, sound and props all come together as actors, technical and production team work away at creating a great show. Most actors I know say with a shudder “oh I hate techs” but I think they protest too much. Sure each tech has its challenges and they can go on quite a long time so that when you finally reach the end, the beginning of the show can feel as if it’s being viewed down the wrong end of a telescope – light years away. But, that said, I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a thrill putting on a new character’s costume and taking them out onto a lit stage for the first time.
We also have a new member of our cast, a beautifully articulated deer puppet which appears during the show. I have worked briefly with puppets, a long time ago when I was starting out and I only remember they got a bigger fee than me, better ‘billing’ and a much larger dressing room. I trust the deer this year is not going to pull any stunts or come out with lots of boring anecdotes about “when I was giving my Rudolph” or “the hilarious time I trod on an Elf”. Seriously though I am to be one of the puppeteers and it feels a big responsibility – wish me luck!