Rehearsals for a Provincial life have come to the end of the third week and the vibe in the rehearsal room is 'it's a big undertaking!'. I was listening into conversations earlier to hear comments like 'it's a huge play... there's alot of's going to be interesting logistically...'. I walked away from my eavesdropping with a little smile on my face.

The scale and detail in this production is what has made my experience as assistant to Peter so incredible. Or put more precisely, his ability to have such vision and still maintain a genuine care for the actor in the space is inspiring. And on top of that he thinks of the audience. He worries about the experience that they will have and how he can make it as authentic and truthful as possible. I feel that we're working towards something very special for all involved and the excitement and energy from all at NTW to fulfill this is so encouraging. As one of the characters Andrey Ivanov says 'Anything is possible'.

My role so far has been to support Peter and the creative team in whatever way I can and also to keep the ensemble up to date and prepared for the task ahead through rehearsals and tasks.

I'm not sure if there is a typical day in the life of an assistant director but there are definitely patterns! It starts with me arriving 45 minutes before Peter and having time to catch up with Stage management on anything from costume fittings to interviews with the Press. Planning carefully to ensure that we can fit everything in. When Peter arrives he works with individuals on text and the we begin scene work. I make notes of anything that comes up and this forms the basis of future schedules - I'm looking forward to  looking at my notebooks in 6 months time as I reflect on this. I'm sure I'll wonder what on earth I meant. But for now as we're emerged in it it all makes perfect sense. At some points in the day I get to stand in for the ensemble (I was a servant with a leaky samovar and a rather strong workman last week...) I  keep noting changes and checking with our highly efficient and well stocked with post it notes DSM that we are on top of what goes where and by who. We are all aware of how technical the play is because of the attention to detail needed and we are trying to be as prepared as we possibly can. The day ends as it began, but we are usually wiser, we have learnt more about the play and Peter has shared more gems of knowledge or anecdotes to make us think or chuckle.

Tomorrow I'm rehearsing with the ensemble - I hope they take well to the news that one scene has got a totally different furniture plot to last week... I should have mentioned Andrey Ivanov also says 'Anything can change' It's evolving all the time and it is truly exciting.


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Comment by National Theatre Wales on February 17, 2012 at 23:53

Great to get this update and reflection Julia.  I really enjoyed my rehearsal visit this week - the scenes are becoming so finely tuned.  It's great to see all of you working in such precise detail on this wonderful text.

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