Anyone who has seen See How They Run will have witnessed the slapstick humour involving the actors, set and props on stage. One particular piece of set that gets it's fair share of involvment in the play is the cupboard door under the stairs! Here actress Rachel Denning, who plays Penelope Toop, shares with us the showbiz life of the See How they Run door!
A day in the life of a Showbiz Door
I probably have the biggest role in ‘See How They Run’ and with no understudy; my job is probably one of the hardest. With the production being a farce I am crucial so it is important that I remain in good shape.
Unfortunately the life of touring and live theatre can take its toll. For example, the first night in Richmond will always stick out as one of my weakest performances. In the very first scene I could feel myself seizing up; I then became ‘unhinged’ meaning the Rev. Lionel Toop could not exit the stage, he had to physically lift me so he could get through, I just felt so wooden. The remainder of Act one in Richmond was interesting….I really do feel responsible for slowing down the pace of the show. The other cast members constantly having to lift me when it came to my moment. At least, my condition meant that Ida the maid could not kick me on her exit. At the interval 1st aid was called to assess me, after a little bit of emergency repair I was feeling much better and the second half was much smoother although I was still a little stiff.
And don’t get me started on raked stages, this is when the stage is on a slight slant, meaning I lose control of my movement, moving a little faster downstage and a little slower upstage, sometimes knocking the other cast members on their way through.
But when I am on top form, I make the play. I am part of the most exciting moments and help to create comedy genius.
I also get to see both sides, all the action on stage and all the action off stage; the actors preparing for their moment, waiting, warming up, costumes and props being organised.
I really do think that I have the best part in the play!