Michael Boyd

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Monday, July 2, 2007

A big day today. We’re trying to tackle the choruses now, before heading into a second pass at the scenes. This serves the twofold purpose of getting choreography and staging nailed down for the big group numbers, and giving Margaret Atwood time to send us a few re-writes. 

We got a pretty good pass at three of them before lunch: We are the Maids, Kiddies Lament, and the Birth of Telemachus. That was a good, intense morning.

Our lunch was provided by Michael Boyd. He is the Artistic Director of the RSC and has been in London since we arrived, rehearsing Richard II, and Henry IV Parts 1 and 2. It was delightful to meet him. He seems a man of very generous spirit, and he is certainly a man of vision. He invited us to drop in on rehearsals any time (though it is unlikely considering our schedule), and also invited us the the lunch at the Courtyard Theatre next Friday. His words of wisdom around that lunch were: “Head for the good stuff! You’ll be on limited time.”

After lunch we had another fight call and staged more fully the Slaughter and the Hanging. A rather gruesome and violent way to spend the afternoon, but it is actually a lot of fun to do. Well… maybe not the hanging part. But we’ve got a real element of surprise in the Slaughter, and I’m sure we’ll get much more detail in it before it hits the boards. 

It was a huge physical day, though, and the rehearsal room smelled like a locker room by 5 o’clock. Then lucky Warren had to sit with us, rather tired and stinky, and work on some music. And that was the end of the day.

A little side note on Michael Boyd: I had the privilege of seeing his work on the Histories in 2001 when I was over here writing my Masters Degree at Central. The RSC was putting on all the histories in a row, and Boyd directed the final four in the cycle, the three Henry VIs and Richard III. This was the highlight of my career as an audience member. I got student prices on the tickets, but I had to stand in line for stand-by. So I’d get the tube down to the Young Vic and wait in line with my books to read, and my sandwich to eat, and I’d queue. Once I had my ticket, I’d run over the the other queue for seats, as it was festival seating. And I’d dash in and get my favourite seat right next to one of the vomitories  What spectacular productions these were. So visceral. So clear. So compelling. It was like watching a serial that I couldn’t wait to see the next installment of. I was ducking sword blades in my seat, and picking stage blood off my sweater the following morning! Fantastic. And I was fortunate enough to see the Richard III on a Saturday night when all the Kings from all the productions (I had also seen the Henry IVs and V) came to do a curtain call together. The crowd went wild, and I among them. It was a crowning moment in my life in the theatre. 

And now. I’m having lunch with the guy. And working in his theatre. And he’s invited any of us to go and have coffee with him. 

And by day, I’m just a girl who lives a quiet life in St. Catharines. Who’da thunk. 

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