A day in the life of a director…

Director Chris Honer’s personal blog during the last week of rehearsals for The Heretic

It’s the last week of rehearsals in our light and airy room at Z-arts in Hulme before we move to The Lowry for our production week, and the first public performances. So, rather than working in detail on scenes, we’re putting whole sequences of the play together and having note sessions where we discuss what doesn’t work and how to improve it.

In fact this afternoon we put together the whole play for the first time. These runs always surprise me by what works and what doesn’t and this one was no exception. What’s probably the most complex sequence of the piece, where four characters sit behind lap-tops and hack into a rival university’s website (oh there’s no depths to which these climate change scientists will not descend) and discuss and joke about what they’re finding worked really excellently. That was great to see.

But I’m also trying to put myself in the position of an audience member who’s seeing the piece for the first time (rather than what I am – a director who’s been watching the scenes for the last three weeks) and gauging how an audience will read the developing relationships in the play. Will they get that this teacher has a growing respect and affection for a rather alienated student? Is the point where her view of him changes and if not why not? We’ll work on that, and other details, tomorrow morning before running the play again in the afternoon.

Frustration of the day – wardrobe calls. Actors, of course, need to be fitted for their costumes and somehow, however well you plan, just when you need a particular actor, it’s their turn to be down at our wardrobe in Whalley Range trying on some more clothes.
Pleasure point of the day – Polly, who plays the university’s rather severe Human Resources Officer, brought in some more of her glorious flapjacks.

The Heretic runs from Thu 27 Sep – Sat 13 Oct. Book your tickets here.