Rehearsing The Winter's Tale: Weeks 6 and 7

3rd March 2017 in News

ENO Harewood Artist Samantha Price discusses her final weeks of rehearsing the role of Perdita before the world premiere of The Winter’s Tale from ENO’s composer-in-residence Ryan Wigglesworth.

Olivier-Award winning actor Rory Kinnear makes his directorial debut with this compelling new interpretation of Shakespeare’s tale of love, loss and reconciliation.

See The Winter’s Tale at the London Coliseum from 27 February – 14 March 2017

“Here is video 6 of my behind the scenes diary following the progress of The Winter’s Tale at ENO. This is my final video!

The last two weeks of the process usually do feel like a complete stage – the final workings leading up to the dress rehearsal and opening night.

I always get reminded very quickly at this stage – once you get into the theatre – that time is very precious and you have to be as efficient as possible with the allocated time that you are given because even though we’ve been in the theatre for the past two weeks, we do not have full access for that entire duration vecause the Coliseum is a busy theatre and his has two other operas on at the same time at the moment – it has Pirates of Penzance and Rigoletto (Closed 27 February).

So last week we started off with stage and piano sessions – one session being the equivalent of a three hour block of time so on a particular day we may have our stage and piano in the morning for one session but then we have to be out of the theatre in the afternoon so that the people working at the theatre have time to change the sets over.

Each block has its own priorities so you have to focus in on what needs to be done in that particular session so for example the stage and piano rehearsals are usually referred to as tech rehearsals.  Everything is very technically focused… you need a lot of patience so that the lighting can be blocked and anything that logistically has to be achieved on stage is practices and prepared as thoroughly as possible.

Problems can come up and you might need to repeat things technically for the set or lighting a couple of times to get things done if that’s the social for that session.

We get 3, sometimes 4, stage and piano rehearsals and then you carry on the technical findings from those into the stage and orchestra rehearsals. For all of these everyone is in full stage make-up and costumes so that things can be seen on stage and the designer can see things as a whole.

My preparation time to get ready with make-up started off as about an hour to get ready and now we’ve got it down to about 45 minutes just with practice. Timelapse video below!

We’ve got to work with the actual set now – it looks really great! I think Vicki (Mortimer) and her team have done such a good job.

And then the orchestra came to join us! This is usually when the mind gets focused back to the score and making sure you’re as on it as possible with the singing and cues from the conductor. I think the one challenge when you get to do your scene is that you don’t get all that many chances to practice things again because time just flies!

This is the time when you can get flooded by notes from all different angles and perspectives and different people all trying to fix tiny little things. But you have to accumulate these notes, take them all on board and combine them to try and improve your performance.

Then we have the dress rehearsal – lots of people come to watch! It was lovely to hear such a nice response at the end. I think everyone did a good job, we’re pretty happy.

We’ve done the dress rehearsal now, opening night is upon us and I’m really excited, can’t wait for everyone to finally see all this work. And however it goes and however people react to it, I’m so proud to have been a part of this show and feel incredible lucky to be surrounded by such lovely and supportive colleagues. It’s been an absolute treat!”