Having performed the material in Mr President before, I think as a cast, we were all able to enjoy the day far more. The cast was smaller, the show itself was half its length, in order to squeeze into our ten minute slot, and we all knew what we were doing (ish). Hence the reason in these blog pictures half of us are doing the tech rehearsal in costume and half are just not bothering! Rebels!
EDIT: Anyone who works with me knows costume is often involved and therefore tech is important to try moving in the space.
Part of the reason I was reluctant to put my costume on was I realized during the last performance at Camden People's Theatre that I have a bit of an issue with latex. It had caused me irritation with my eyes during rehearsal but I put that down to wearing a mask can never be comfortable. Right? Then during the performance day I had my costume on for a much longer length of time which resulted in the most painful allergic eyes during the show and a swollen eye for the following two days.
So this time I minimized time in the mask and also I came armed with eye drops, nasal spray and wonderful antihistamines! And that WORKED! :-) Relief!
The night before the show I had been playing with my son. It was almost bedtime for him and I was planning on spending a couple of hours after he slept improving the soundtrack for the show. Anyway, there we were laughing with each other when suddenly his large plastic Thomas train smacks into my laughing mouth.
There is no pain or blood. Then I move and feel part of my tooth drop to the floor. I was too upset to do sound editing that night. I was actually quite shocked and also mourning the loss of my tooth.
Typically the next morning my dentist was closed and the time they opened was the time I had to leave the house to go to the theatre.
UPDATE: So my dentist says my middle teeth are for smiling now and only my back teeth are for chewing. Thanks my son.
In order to take part in the scratch we had to reduce the show to 10 mins and so I picked two really strong scenes and used the opening to create a contrast with the more surreal and hyper scenes. However, I think we definitely learnt that with a show like this, that has some really disturbing lines (all Trump's own words) and some frantic and surreal qualities that it takes a while to build the performance to a point where those scenes have the audience on board. It needs a slow build up so that by the time we get to those scenes, the audience are already engaged and are with you.
It felt like in our disturbing 'pageant scene' which consists of a list of lines that Trump has said about specific female celebrities that the audience were more quiet than last time. However, of course, those lines are not funny at all and are completely shocking and that is the whole point.
New Title & Format
So the show was previously called Inauguration and the show was the Inauguration ceremony itself.
This time I felt strongly that the title needed to be changed because it was immediately assumed that the content was about something that happened in the past and therefore not current/relevant anymore. In fact, I feel that the material is both current and relevant and therefore we needed a title to reflect that. I also wanted a title to reflect the gender fluidity within the show. I think using Laura Hinski's photograph from the performance at Camden People's Theatre together with the title Mr President works. It also keeps the possibilities open for directions I may decide to go in as the show develops.
Since we no longer had the structure of the Inauguration ceremony to give the show context, we decided to approach it as a Trump rally. We kept the immersive opening and used the idea of the audience being welcomed to a last minute, secret rally near the US Embassy in Battersea.
The rally aspect of the show is something that I now want to move forward with and develop. I would like all the characters to be introduced at different points as they contribute to the rally. Maybe one will sing, perhaps one will read a poem, there will be a few speeches and some dancing before Trump arrives. It will allow us to really build the piece before those climatic scenes.
We also need to think about set and make more decisions on costumes (although we are mostly there with that).
Originally, I was planning to put in an Arts Council application so a performance of the show could coincide with Trump's visit to the UK in October. Well, we did suspect things would change and they did. I'm not sure what we can do for July! He may not even come to London but I would love this to have a presence in July.