Another intense and exciting week, revealing ever more strengths and depth in the piece – both text and music – and keeping our communal foot hard on the gas.
Progress remains incredibly quick and encouraging. We’ve got through the whole of the second act in just 4 days – a rare feat indeed – and I am really looking forward to facing the dramatic challenges of the final act. Act II has been all about middle age, mixing dissatisfaction and disaffection with moments of shared memory and fondness. It is the “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” act, with ritualistic bouts of verbal battle and role-play that has been quite a lot of fun, but Act III is going to be truly something else, focusing on the end of life.
Our singers are doing magnificently. True singer-actors, exploring every dramatic nuance through music, text and physical performance. But we still have a long way to go to fully develop the physical aspects of ageing – something that will be very much to the fore in the coming week and which will provoke greater exploration in the first two acts.
From a production point of view I am still loving the process of testing and revealing the potential of the design we’ve created, and I now feel that the ladder that represents the stairs of the Tower will become increasingly dominant and powerful with its own symbolic significance. We even have a moment which we nicknamed “The Ladder in the Room” – replacing the usual “elephant” of the phrase. But our floor is also a thing of power and potency . . .
Everyone is realistic about the huge challenge this piece represents for our heroic cast (just two singers for an entire opera is a lot to ask), but there is an intoxicating sense of positivity and possibility that shines through in every session. Work around the piano remains a constant feature, as does the process of staging short sections, one at a time – but the sense of cohesiveness is also strong, as is the dramatic energy and insightfulness of the music. Good work, Guto!