Way Upstream – Press Night

Attending Press Night for Way Upstream did not disappoint. The stage transformation to the River Orb was magnificent. I was so impressed by the physical capabilities of the cast, working in the confined space of the boat and teetering precariously over the water for much of the play. I particularly liked the ‘speeded up’ sections of the action, demonstrating again the skill of the actors and the vision for the play. Creating illusion is the stuff of theatre and this was supremely well achieved in all aspects of the production, not least the technical achievements achieved by the Technical team.

The night before Press Night I had attended the pre-show talk with Nadia Fall and Alan Ayckbourn. Ayckbourn discussed the creation of a character who was at first attractive and then totally abhorrent by the end of the play and this was admirably met in Jason Durr’s portrayal of Vince. Ayckbourn was also asked about the final quarter of the play – was it a meant to be a dream sequence? He ducked the question and perhaps with good reason. Several of the critics of Way Upstream seemed less than convinced about this part of the play (Theatre Cat;Telegraph; Chichester Observer)

Pre-show talk with Alan Ayckbourn and Nadia fall

Pre-show talk with Alan Ayckbourn and Nadia fall

Here’s the image I put on the front of the card for Press Night for Nadia, the cast and the creative team:
IMG_1546

CFT Residency Way Upstream

I was invited to watch the building of the stage for Way Upstream which is going to be opening the Festival season at CFT this year. The design is a triumph and one which was equally met by the capabilities of the technical crew at CFT. Entire, fully grown trees were waiting outside the Stage Door as I arrived. The boat, originally called Avocet, had been delivered earlier in the week. Inside the auditorium the stage had been pared back to allow for the installation of the boat and the river, in which it will cruise.
For me, to arrive in the auditorium with drawing materials was quite overwhelming. The auditorium alone offers so much visual material for an artist like me, who is intrigued by spaces and light. I wasn’t going to ignore this, but the building of this stunning set was not going to be repeated. I was wondering “how on earth are they going to do that?” …but they did and it is fantastic.

Avocet

Avocet

A second drawing visit allowed me to make some sketches of the boat whilst it was moving – yes, the boat actually travels along the riverbank. This allowed me to do the free kind of drawing and multiple viewpoints (from a cubist perspective) that I like to get into my work, without me having to create this by, for example, turning the canvas through 90 degrees, which I quite often do.

Way Upstream and auditorium

Way Upstream and auditorium


IMG_1494
Building the riverbank

Building the riverbank


Avocet 'on the move'

Avocet ‘on the move’

I shall welcome some studio time now to develop some of these sketches for future use.