This past week was a nonstop whirlwind of lighting design, line runs, and rehearsals as Theatre Lovett inched towards our Friday showing of Frankenstein: a Work in Progress. Before I started interning at Theatre Lovett, I never realized how much work actually went into putting on a production. Every little detail is scrutinized and repeated over and over until everyone is satisfied. It takes an entire team of people make sure that everything gets done on time, that everything is where it should be, and that every single line of dialogue or movement is carefully timed and executed.
As you can imagine, all of this can be exhausting. And, while most productions have months or even years to perfect, ours all happened in a few short weeks. Frankenstein’s first draft was completed less than a month ago; from here it was a week of working out costumes and actors, hiring lighting and sound design, finding a makeup artist, and meeting with a production manager to keep everything on track. After that we moved to the LAB, a rehearsal space provided to Theatre Lovett by the Dublin Arts Council. In the LAB we did multiple reads of the script, meeting with the writer to make various changes and work through several different drafts until a final version could be agreed upon. During the rehearsal week, the play evolved from a simple delivery of the story to a full-on musical, with original composed songs and lyrics. Costumes were rejected, set pieces were brought in and discarded, and makeup artists were consulted to perfect the final look.
After a week of rehearsals in the LAB, it was time to move to the performance space, the Peacock Stage at the Abbey Theatre. Here, the sound and lighting designers were brought in, as well as a musician to perform the new score live on stage alongside the actor. The whole production was rehearsed over and over, with me behind the camera to film for future reference, and changes were made up until the last minute. We worked 12 hour days to make sure everything was just right, and at some points it seemed like the whole thing was impossible to pull off.
Finally, Friday evening approached and it was the moment of truth—the showing. The audience poured in and the anticipation in the room was palpable. And while it was made quite clear that this was a work in progress, expectations were high due to Theatre Lovett’s reputation. Luckily, the performance went on with only a few small hiccups, and Theatre Lovett is already looking to producing the full version of the show for the 2018 season.
It was amazing to be able to be a part of a rapid-fire production from start to finish, as this is a process that would normally take months. It was like a tiny glimpse into the behind the scenes world of theater, and something that I am truly privileged to have been a part of.