Beyond Therapy, a comedy by Christopher Durang
Tuesday 30th January – Saturday 3rd February
As I arrived at the theatre before rehearsal to go through the list of props still needed – a restaurant receipt tray, a bottle of red wine (not for drinking, at least, not until after the last night!) – I opened the front door to the Youth Group rehearsing in any available corner of the building. It was wonderful to see – not only is Brighton Little Theatre a permanently working theatre, which still after all these years thrills me, but it’s also one in which people learn how all areas of a production run. Better still, they learn whilst doing!
Learning whilst participating is something that has been a large element of the rehearsal process for Beyond Therapy. I was given the opportunity to fill one of the New Director slots in the 2016-2017 season, so, admittedly, not entirely my first time at the helm but still a learning process. It is one that has been made less daunting with help from Steven Adams and his, as always, amazing set (so many wheels!!!), Stephen ‘Derek’ Evans and his unflappable knowledge of Stage Managing, and Claire Ghiaci who as our very organised DSM has, like me, been learning throughout the production – this being her first.
With just a few days to go before we open, and with everyone off book, our next big task is to make the set move smoothly and swiftly and with as few accidents as possible. Whist Jade (Doig), Ciaran (O’Connor) and Neil (Drew) will undoubtedly be dreaming – nightmaring? – of phone rings before we open, I expect Marc (Pinto) and Stephen (Evans again) will truly learn to hate setography (for that’s what it feels like). We will continue to try not to destroy any of the beautiful NYC skyline painted by Tom Williams whilst we move restaurants, offices and living rooms from here to there and back again.
It’s on these sliding floors that the cast – Ciaran, Jade, Neil, Patti (Griffiths), Des (Potton) and Marc – can be found trying to figure out who’s character is the biggest crackpot (hint: it’s all of them!). For in a play where characters look to therapy to help them with their romantic tangles, what help is there to be had when the therapists are either barking mad (sometimes literally) or sleeping with the person they’re meant to advise? It’s been joyous learning from all the wonderful actors involved; those I’ve known for years such as Patti, Des and Neil, as well as those with whom this is my first time working - Ciaran, Jade and Marc. Each of them with their own inimitable style and talent; all of them coming together to create something that will hopefully, if just for the couple of hours people will be watching it, make the dreary and damp January / February seem a little bit brighter.
Beyond Therapy opens on Tuesday 30th January and runs through until Saturday 3rd February (5 performances). Tickets available in the usual ways, online here or via telephone on 0844 888 0432.