Rehearsals have now commenced for our autumn production of The Tempest. Actors have begun to learn their lines and to memorise their positions on stage. But this is only one part of much more extensive preparations. An early task has been to take down and pack up the printed backdrops which we commissioned for our pantomime Aladdin. This involved lowering these sheets of scenery from their struts at the rear of the stage, untying them and then folding them up for storage. Prepared on durable but light material, when folded at a backdrop takes up roughly the same space as a folded duvet. One backdrop, portraying a colourful Oriental Street, is shown below.
The second backdrop features a grand Chinese mansion. Both are available for hire by other dramatic societies or individuals, either for other plays on an oriental theme or perhaps a private party. Anyone interested in hiring either of the backdrops should contract our secretary, Sarah Oliver, on [email protected] While our electrician began preparations for installing spotlights, others started work on painting scenery. It might not be generally known but every inch in the area beneath the stage in Silchester village hall is put to good use. There, amongst other things, Silchester Players hold a stock of emulsion paint in various different hues as well as cloths, brushes and rollers for painting scenery. It is never a popular task to go into the storage area as it involves crawling on hands and knees and tolerating a confined space. Although we are able to pull some equipment out on a large trolley, as the cans of paint are on shelves someone has to crouch inside to retrieve them. Here is co-director Jill Gillett selecting the right shade of blue for the sky above Prospero’s island.
Once the paint has been selected, the flats (the tall pieces of scenery placed in the wings), are lifted down from the stage for painting in the body of the hall. It is with mixed emotions that we set about this task as it involves covering over images which we have lovingly prepared for a previous production. Here the exotic designs for Aladdin are lost forever as we begin to create Prospero’s magical island.
More work will continue over weekends throughout July and August. Unusually this year, as we are still getting back on track post Covid, we will be rehearsing through the summer rather than having our usual break. The Tempest performance dates are 23rd/24th September and 30th September/1st October. Watch for ticket details which will appear on our website https://silchesterplayers.org or follow us on Facebook.