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By Timothy Bano
Showcasing a day in the life of an Oxford Thesp. This week, less than orthodox rehearsal techniques.
Can you hear them? They’re whispering, waiting for our arrival. – Who?
The audience. As we walk down Cowley road into the sunny cemetery a few streets away from Bullingdon road, I can really see them, chatting and elegantly gesturing with their bony limbs – the dead haven’t been entertained in a while. Today they will be, by our first rehearsal for ‘Fear’, at the Burton Taylor. Ambling down the unkempt aisles cautiously, we thanked them for letting us use their space and promised to give a good show…and we did, taking off our shirts for one warm-up that consisted of trying to seduce the graves back to life, crawling on all fours into obscure corners of the cemetery, barking like dogs and shrieking like monkeys, wailing desperately over long-lost cousins and sons. Near the end a strange feeling overcame me, though. I felt that the dead were not satisfied. They wanted something more, something that spoke to them and their worries, their memories. I was sorry we couldn’t put on the whole play right then and there; regardless of whether they liked everything in it I know it would mean something to these tired and nervous souls. So before the first night in 5th week we’ll make sure to put on our first real performance for those who may enjoy it most.