LONDON Diary – Shadow. Eurydice says

London Diary

Shadow. Eurydice says

LONDON Diary – Shadow. Eurydice says

7 Oct 22 – Friday

Arrival at London Heathrow: after a great and intensive rehearsal period in the Waldviertel, Lower Austria, during the summer, Alexandra Sommerfeld and I arrive in London on Friday, 7 October at the invitation of the Austrian Cultural Forum (ACF). The premiere of Shadow. Eurydice says was originally planned for the autumn of 2021, but due to Covid it ended up being postponed several times …

The first rehearsal on-site is due to take place this evening. Beforehand we go to Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant on Pavilion Road. Simply excellent.

8 Oct 22 – Saturday

A wonderful view of London from our bathroom – we’re staying in South Kensington, a stone’s throw from Hyde Park.

In addition to our production animal, this time a fish – it was there for SCHATTEN (Eurydike sagt) in Vienna, too – we also come across our ‘London animal’: a squirrel. Alongside flocks of green parakeets, countless mostly grey squirrels live in Hyde Park. Fantastic rehearsals. Alexandra soon feels at ease at the venue.

9 Oct 22 – Sunday

A long rehearsal after breakfast. Intensive, witty, productive. We’ve been working together for 20 years and are constantly honing our shared ‘language’. Such a joy! Our aim is to wed the special venue with the completely reworked English-language version of the text (compared to the German-language version for Vienna from 2016) – thanks to Gitta Honegger’s magnificent translation! – and to convey the humour of Jelinek’s multifaceted text with playful ease.

10 Oct 22 – Monday

We rehearse first thing. The Cultural Forum is open again after the weekend. The sound designer Wolfgang Musil is arriving today; the equipment is being delivered.

Things are getting more unsettled and a bit more tense. We’re aware that in only two days’ time we’re going to be performing the dress rehearsal in front of an audience. Before this evening’s rehearsal – the team is now complete – we do the final checks of the costume, mask, hairstyle.

11 Oct 22 – Tuesday

The technical set-up is as good as done. The actress and sound designer are partners: Alexandra’s voice is amplified – not because we’re concerned that she won’t be heard everywhere but because we’re working with various, carefully controlled timbres. We use all the entrances to the space and leave the doors open. Material composed by Wolfgang wafts in, Alexandra takes over with text and sometimes can only be heard via one of the four speakers installed fpr our performance. Sound spaces emerge, acoustic accents – and the language of Jelinek pushes its way through them.

12 Oct 22 – Wednesday

Morning: a focused session – we again rehearse technical details and transitions, fine-tune the harmonies of the interplay between Alexandra and Wolfgang’s musical part, run through individual passages to train fluency. Lunch break. The night before, Wolfgang completely reset the mixing console; he continues his work in the afternoon.

Evening: dress rehearsal in front of an audience. I’m nervous, I don’t really like sitting in the middle of the audience – but there’s no other option here. I read along so that I can prompt if necessary, though Alexandra never forgets her lines, and I maintain constant eye contact with Musil. The audience stays tuned. An evening as it should be during a dress rehearsal – not yet delivering our full potential, a couple of little oops-a-daisies.

13 Oct 22 – Thursday

Day of the premiere. No more rehearsals, just a final one-to-one with Alexandra and then Wolfgang. Each of them withdraws to prepare for this evening. Full house. Alexandra develops an ease and pleasure in acting that’s rarely seen at a premiere; Musil, too, is on top form. The audience responds with rapt attention, lots of applause, nuanced reactions and by staying late at the after-show party. Sadly, neither the director of the Cultural Forum nor the production manager, whose support has been magnificent since we started planning the performance, is able to take part on-site – Covid strikes once again.

14 Oct 22 – Friday

Free day in London. Everyone follows their own interests. To the wonderful Imperial China in Soho in the evening – incidentally on the recommendation of a guest at the premiere – to have dinner together. Despite our joy that SHADOW. Eurydice says has finally had its premiere after being postponed so many times, it doesn’t escape our notice that there are lots of people in London who are really struggling. The gap between those who are doing well and those who have to do three jobs one after another just to cover the cost of living is vast and cannot be overlooked.

15 Oct 22 – Saturday

After some intensive days with a truly excellent premiere, extremely interesting encounters with members of the audience, always supportive and good-humoured staff members at the ACF and a multitude of impressions of London, it’s time to head back to Vienna. By the way: except for one short downpour, we had stunning weather the whole nine days we were here – and that in London!

Next up with Shadow. Eurydice says are New York and Washington in February and March 2023. We’re looking forward to it!

sabmitt Oct 2022


©theater.punkt | ACF London


©theater.punkt | King´s Road


©theater.punkt | Imperial China


©theater.punkt | Wolfgang Musil


©theater.punkt | Skyline London


©theater.punkt | Alexandra Sommerfeld


©theater.punkt | Alexandra Sommerfeld