With about nine weeks or so until our first public performance, it is with great relief that we can embark on rehearsals with a full cast. In the professional, full-time theatre world, a nine week rehearsal period would be an almost unheard of luxury. I have had to put a show on from first read-through of the script to stepping out on to the stage before an audience in just nine days before now. But in the world of small-scale, self-funded theatre where all of us have full-time jobs or family commitments to contend with, and rehearsals are counted in hours per week rather than days, then this is not a great deal of time to get everything together.
Not that I'm complaining; it is still a real pleasure to be able to spend time doing what I love with people that I like. However, the reality of the looming deadline is sharpening our focus. It is also stretching the truth a little to say that we now have a full cast. We do have an actor for each role, granted, but have yet to get them all in the same room on the same day! As I type this, two of the cast are on holiday for two weeks which is great for them but still leaves the rest of us reading in lines for them. Looking on the bright side, this does mean that we all get to know one another's lines.
The latest addition to the Zoo is Jeremy Walker who has come on board to play the character of Raymond. Jeremy was recommended by a friend of a friend of the partner of one of the company (isn't it always who you know...?) and has slipped into the role of the sensitive, stuttering Raymond with ease. Jeremy has many years of experience under his belt and has appeared in productions in various venues and with diverse companies across Yorkshire. I was delighted when I recognised Jeremy from a production of 'The Comedy of Errors' that we had both been in almost twenty years ago! We are all grateful to Jeremy for accepting the role and are looking forward to the first rehearsal with the full cast...whenever that might be!