Did you know that The Palace Theatre in Southend has the steepest rake in the country? I did. And had been fearing it ever since Zac informed me in Aberdeen over a month a go.
Rakes are difficult. For those who do not know about them, here is a brief description: Raked stages are stages that slope upwards from the front to the back of the stage (downstage to upstage). It gives those in the auditorium a better view but makes things onstage that little more difficult. An actor who is further from the audience is essentially higher up than the actor nearer to the audience. This helps the issue of upstaging or blocking another actor and ensures that the audience is able to see every actor onstage no matter where they are situated. Most rake theatres have now been renovated however there are still many which have been left untouched. Raked stages are popular in opera productions. But not with me.
For us, it means a lot of slamming doors and sore heels as well as an already tired set bending ever so slightly in the direction of the audience. We have braces at the back of the set which are attached and weighted down to prevent too much bending. It's quite scary.
The stage here is also very small and so, like Loughborough, we have very limited space. This means things must be altered and everyone has to be extra vigilent as there is no space behind the set for crossing. This has to be done underneath the stage. Other than that, it's quite nice here and the theatre has a certain charm to it. Audiences haven't been too large but we've had some lovely feedback and kind words. Alastair and Daragh hosted a lunch in the foyer today where people asked questions to them over a bite to eat. Part of me wished I had been there but I was busy ironing and re-setting for the matinee. Trust the nicest day of the year to fall on the day when we have two shows and a get out! It's beastly.
And what's more us stage management ones have the long drive to Yeovil to look forward to after the get out here for a get in tomorrow morning. It's mental. Zac will be exhausted as will we all. The break that's coming up is gonna be extremely welcome after the week we will have had.