Back in 2020, confined to our homes and desperately starved of theatrical attention, pals of mine had the fab idea of doing some play reads over, the internet on, never really heard of before but now an essential part of our lives, Zoom.
A few play-reads in, I had the crazy notion to suggest we recorded one of them. License issues are a headache none of us had the time for, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Shakespeare – so I started adapting Much Ado About Nothing for an audio production. There were no auditions, just people popping their hands in the air for roles, so obviously, I cast myself as Beatrice as I’ve ALWAYS wanted to play her.
So, strong cast, somewhat questionable recording set ups, and we were underway. I learned A LOT from the experience of trying to herd cats – I mean, organise actors. We ended up doing a lot more rehearsal than we really needed to and the process meant that we ended up recording in our home-made duvet studios during a heatwave. Actual sweat went into this… and lots of it.
So where is it? 90% of the audio was recorded in the summer of 2020 – it’s now Feb ’22.
Well, life got in the way – we were all suddenly allowed back outside properly so a little audio project that meant more hours staring at the screen got put on the backburner. The Lockdown Players name no longer made sense. The charity we were going to raise money for no longer had the same urgency.
So, almost two years on, why am I picking it up now? I’ve just completed an even bigger project – Pride & Prejudice – for White Cobra, which I ended up adapting, directing, acting in and doing the edit. Much Ado has been on my mind for a long while, and now I feel armed with the skills to finish it all off myself.
making some changes…
Obviously, a lot has happened since we started out on this project – not everyone who was part of it before was keen to continue (which is fair enough!), no one has nearly as much time, nor the inclination, to sit on Zoom for ages.
I spent a good chunk of time creating rough cuts of the whole play to figure out if a) I had everything and b) if it was all good enough to use. Thankfully, most of it was, and there have only been a handful of re-records to get through. I also had to re-cast a part, and that’s still to be recorded.
As I mentioned, The Lockdown Players no longer makes a lot of sense, as we’re thankfully out of the total lockdown we spent a lot of 2020 in. So my own Audio Theatre Company has been born!
nothing but roaring
I spent several hours going through various Shakespeare scripts trying to find something that resonated. I knew I didn’t want “Players” or “Theatre” etc in the name – I wanted something quirky enough that it could be anything, but with a theatrical slant. Then I put it to the cast of MAAN to get opinions. It came down to a few, but NOTHING BUT ROARING seemed to garner the strongest response. It’s a line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Snug: Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.”
Quince: You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring
So for now, it’s time to put the whole thing together! The production will be out later this year, and will be free to listen online.