HOAX as a project has been almost two years in the making, but so much of it now comes down to these last three weeks before the HOAX My Lonely Heart musical opens – the three weeks that are our rehearsals.
Now two weeks in, these rehearsals have meant director Benji Reid, composer Minute Taker, production manager Chris Whitwood, and our three actors, Olivia, Tachia and Stephen, locked together, all the time, in the Royal Exchange Theatre’s rehearsal rooms, trying to teach and learn a full script, complete with 16 songs and two very complex emotional journeys, not to mention the moves, cues, positionings, timings, and everything else that goes into putting a show like this onto stage.
Given the enormity of this task, it amazes me there hasn’t been an all out massacre in there. Instead, with Benji’s cool, Minute Taker’s calm, and the sheer focus and commitment in the room, the progress had been extraordinary.
My job throughout this period has been to rework the script whenever necessary; taking feedback from the floor whenever the director or actors have found something that doesn’t feel quite right or takes too long, making edits and cuts accordingly, and as quickly as possible so as not to break the performers’ flow.
Like every other aspect of HOAX, rehearsals have been a team effort. Of course we’re all hoping for success next week when the show opens, but whatever happens we’ll have done our best and can be very proud of that.