Saturday, July 29, 2006

Casting block

Both the remaining roles are on offer. And have been for several days. It's quite frustrating - if the actors sit on the role for a week and then say "No", it leaves me in a mad panic to find somebody else in time, with rehearsals due to start on August 14th. On the other hand, if these two say "Yes", then there's nothing to worry about. I could, of course, cover my back by checking availability and even meeting other possible people: but with the sort of performers I want, you have to go with something quite close to an offer, so I feel I ought really to play the waiting game, even though it's torment. Antony Sher talks about this from the other side in Year of the King: his favourite time is the period between being offered the role and accepting it. I suppose it's the one moment when the actor has everybody in his / her power! That and the performance, of course.

Meanwhile, I fill in the gaps in the rest of the team. Mark Doubleday will do the lighting (hurray), and Alison de Burgh direct the fights (ditto). I meet Seema to talk through ideas on costume and doubling, and put in my halfpennyworth on the publicity designs. FedEx the Work Permits to Shanghai and Macau. Start to put together programme notes. Contract the team we have. And wait.

Meanwhile, next year still hovers. James and Martin Banham are interested in the Accra bit of this blog forming the basis of an article for African Theatre 7. This should come out around the time of the production, so it's really helpful. I have a long phone call with Prof. Lola Young, who is co-ordinating the Freedom and Culture programme for the 2007 bi-centenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade. She's very excited about the Ghana project, and we agree to link up. The list of supporting organisations is getting quite impressive - it's time to put together a full project proposal. Not ideal timing - but at least there are still 2 weeks till rehearsals begin.

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