Over the past few months, while writing the script of Les Mystères du Louvre, I was grappling with whether to do a second ‘work in progress’ showing. I had always thought that it would be a fabulous way of finishing off this latest creative development and also a way of thanking our donors and supporters. However, it’s a scary proposition putting a new work up for scrutiny and seeing whether scenes are robust enough to be presented to a live audience, and I vacillated for a long time.
During both creative developments, our emphasis had always been on developing a script that we hoped would be engaging and multilayered. We didn’t want the technology to be just an ‘add-on’ or an afterthought, but integral to the telling of this story. Eventually, I took the plunge and booked the theatre, and with crunch time looming on the horizon, decisions needed to be made. Two of the main decisions were whether to use any technology and, if so, how much to include, and whether to present the whole play, or selected scenes.
I ruminated over many weeks about what to show. A friend suggested a cold read with actors who had no idea or concept of what the piece was about at all. By not knowing the work, they couldn’t paper over the cracks as easily. Four actor mates generously gave up their time to delve into all aspects of the work, pointing out where parts could be made clearer, whether there was too much French language in particular scenes and what sections would be suitable for performance at this stage. It was very illuminating and I highly recommend! It was at this point, after another full rewrite, that I felt that the script, while not perfect, was reasonably solid. I decided on 3 scenes, two of which we had presented before and a brand-new scene. The first big hurdle had been overcome!
I had, over many months, toyed with the idea of doing some 3D projection but, as time was short, and the budget was becoming increasingly tighter, I put that on the back burner for a later date. It would be great to show some projection, but better to do it properly than rush it.
The two roles of the Tour Guide and the Mum were cast (amazing and fabulous Helen Hopkins and Damien Kenny) and Alison Richards took up the role of Dramaturg… and then we were away!