Here is where we start with the Inspector Calls bloggings. Its been a long time in the waiting hasn't it? You will have to excuse the fact I am almost 2 months behind, as usual these writings operate on a Gareth time scale, which inevitably is almost always late... a bit like the buses really. Anyhow we will begin right at the beginning... it seems a pretty logical place to start after all.
I must stress at this early stage, the purpose of this blog isn't to have a swipe at Ollie (who you are about to read about). He knows my feelings about him already, so nothing is about to be said which I haven't said directly to him! Anyone who knows me well will know that I don't hold back in letting people know what I think about them, more so if they upset me! The purpose of this blog is in fact to give you... the reader a truthful and accurate account of how the play comes together over the next few months. All I will say at this point is that the truth can sometimes be harsh... but thats life!
I won't lie the early day's were manic, and very stressful. There were changes in the cast as people weren't quite suitable for the roles they were casted in. Its strange, sometimes you can see a person in a role, in your mind... but when you try them out it simply doesn't come together. A further cast member left due to an unfortunate change in personal circumstances, which lead to a shuffle among the actors and the roles they were filling. Though the biggest setback was the group decision to sack our first director - Ollie Grant. The advantage of our society is that there is no one person in power, we all share that, which whilst could be seen as an unorthodox approach to structure and hierarchy... it works for us.
Ollie was taken on as he had a little experience in directing and seemingly had the passion for a new project. He had previously directed a play in Canterbury, I forget what it was called... but thats irrelevant really. We felt this experience would be beneficial, but it transpired he was about as useful to the group as a chocolate tea pot! It leaves you wondering whether his first project was actually any good? Never have I met an individual holding a role of such responsibility who was this useless. His organisation was terrible, and communication even worse! He simply had to go if this play were to succeed.
This left us without a director. I have to admit I think we were all a bit concerned, as its not the easiest role to fill, especially seeing as the foundation stones of the play had already been laid, and the cast was already in place. It would mean a new director would have to be versatile in using the resources he had acquired with the job and blending these with his own visions and directions for the play. I will be honest now, I did wonder whether we would end up just directing this as a group, as I wasn't so sure we could find someone who would be right for the job.
In the meantime I lead the group, seeing as I was assistant director to Ollie. I knew that this could only be a temporary measure as there would be no way I could direct whist carrying a lead role in the play also. I lead the group through the first read through's which I think I did reasonably well. I had been thrown in the deep end and without experience in directing I just used instinct to guide the group forward. The next big development came at the second read through, we decided to discuss recruiting an understudy for Mr Birling. A name came up - Chris Foran. Someone a couple of the cast members had worked with before at a course we had done in the spring.
The following week Chris was on board, and discovered our predicament. At an instant he said that he would be interesting in directing the group, as after all being an understudy he would have the time to do so. Well I was convinced, and also somewhat relieved. Whilst Chris lacked experience in directing, I knew his standards as an actor. I also knew he could lead a group from the days when we were on that same course together. He was well worth a shot, though with just a tiny amount of experience in directing between us, the pending handover of control was going to be messy.
It took in total about 4 weeks for the full handover to take place, but I think we are finally there now. Just like I was with Ollie I have filled the assistant director's boots and between us we have used some of the original ideas of the play and blended them with Chris' new visions. The outcome I think will be something rather spectacular. But more news on that another day!