Things are hotting up as we get closer to the production

Rehearsals for AND THEN THERE WERE NONE began on the 19th November. With the production being scheduled for the second week in February this was already a shorter rehearsal period than we have normally in Little Gaddesden.

Although it does put pressure on the cast this is actually a good thing since experience shows that, like most activities, rehearsals have a habit of expanding into whatever time is allocated for them. Actors are always notoriously reluctant to learn lines and many of us assume, wrongly, that simply doing them on stage every week will result in them seeping subliminally into our memories. They don’t. Lines have to be worked on and there comes a point when the life support system provided by the book has to be jettisoned. This is always a difficult moment. It is one thing to recall lines in the comfort of one’s own home but this is nothing like having to dredge them up from a reluctant memory on stage.

One result is that acting goes out of the window, not that it is possible to act with a book as it inhibits movement and expression. However, experience shows that there is a magical moment when the words come naturally without having to be prised reluctantly from the depths and at that point it is possible to inhabit the character, to be the person you are playing.

Snow interfered with the already tight schedule before Christmas and of course this may happen again before we are through. We have caught up and on Sunday we had the benefit of being to work with a partially-completed set and to use many of the excellent period props which will be employed in the production. What a difference this makes.

It is one thing to know that a sofa will be in a particular position or that a tray of glasses will be on a table, quite another to see them there and be able to behave naturally. Adding sound and lighting takes us even closer to the finished article and from the look of things we are well on the way towards achieving this state of thespian grace.

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE will be performed on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th February in the Little Gaddesden Village Hall. Tickets are available from the Box Office on 01442 842780.

Patrick Isherwood.