Tech Week (Luke Ward-Wilkinson)

2011 Lord of the Flies Set

2011 Lord of the Flies Set. Photo: Johan Persson

So it’s Tech Week at Regent’s Park for Lord of the Flies. Here are some of the questions I’ve been getting asked as opening night fast approaches.

Q. Was it a satisfying feeling running the play in rehearsals for the first time?
A. It wasn’t so much a satisfying feeling, but more a sigh of relief. The show isn’t just a straight forward piece of naturalism, it entails: intense movement sequences, stark expressionist devices, and specific choreography and blocking that must be adhered to in order to keep everyone on stage safe. Just to get through all of that for the first time, without anything major going wrong, was a huge relief. From an artistic point of view, it was an incredible feeling to finally take my character on his journey, having spent so much time on each line, thought, motivation etc. It has really come together now, and there is a real sense of pride and ownership throughout the cast.

Q. How are you feeling now, knowing that you open next week?
A. It’s a mixed bag of emotions. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m nervous, but nerves are a good thing if you channel them the right way. Ultimately I’m excited. The shows at Regent’s Park are now sold out, so I know I’m going to be walking out to 1200 people every night; that’s an amazing feeling, it’s what most actors dream of being able to do. This is the most fun I’ve ever had on a project of any kind. To be candid, it’s probably the happiest I’ve ever been; I’m doing what I love, and I’m working with amazing, genuine people that I’m proud to call my friends and colleagues. I imagine it’s going to be a special feeling to finally share our show with the audience on opening night.

Q. Are you excited to be going into Tech Week on stage at the Open Air Theatre?
A. I am absolutely excited. Having watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers recently at the Park, I already have an understanding of the venue. It truly is a magical space; I’ve never experienced anything like it before, and you really couldn’t pick a better stage for Lord of the Flies. The whole ambience of being outdoors and surrounded by trees, plants and nature is going to give the play that extra organic edge. It’s going to make everything on stage feel all the more real. Given the time of year, our evening performances will also benefit from the setting sun, and by Act Two we should be in complete darkness adding a touch of eeriness as the play descends into darker territory.

It’s also a little daunting though; our tech at Regent’s Park consists of gruelling thirteen and a half hour days, which will surely take its toll on everyone. There will be a lot of adjusting to do as the set is going into a much larger space. There will be a lot of logistics involved and, as I’ve mentioned, it’s  really important to get everything right, more so for the safety of everyone on stage.

Apart from the health and safety side of things and nerves aside, I can’t wait to get on that stage. I’m already having a blast and things are about to get even better. I hope you enjoy the show.

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