Welcome to the SUTCo Spotlight!
Kane, Helen and Alex - Anatomy of Gray Prod Team
Tonight is the opening night of our last drama studio show of the year! I talked to Kane (Director), Helen (Producer) and Alex (Production Manager) about Anatomy of Gray.
George: Hi guys! Let's start by talking a bit about the overview of the show.
Kane: Well, Anatomy of Gray is about a girl named June who lives in the town of Gray, Indiana in the 1890s. The town itself is quite isolated so when Doctor Gray crashes in on a hot air balloon all of the townspeople’s worlds get thrown upside down with the prime focus being on the relationship between June and Doctor Gray.
G: And why did this show in particular stick out to you when proposals came around?
K: I picked this show because it’s probably one of the most beautiful scripts I’ve read, in both writing and potential for tech. I’d say it’s very interpretable in that there’s a lot of stuff you can do with it which allowed everyone to really put their own ideas and thoughts into it.
G: Of course it's your second time directing this year. What do you think has changed this time around?
K: Well I think this time around directing I’m a lot more sure of myself in that I have a better idea of what I want from the show. I’ve had a lot more time as well to really think things through so I’m excited to see how everything will go!
G: Helen, how have you found your 2nd time producing? How have things been different to before?
Helen: I've had such contrasting experiences with Producing this University year with SUTCo. As the producer of the 24 Hour Musical, the sheer amount of planning which needed to go into the singular performance was immense. The budget was far larger. The rehearsal process was only over the 24 hours themselves, and I’d had to keep a secret for 8 months! With Anatomy of Gray I have absolutely loved seeing everything come together, from our stunning publicity (thankyou Lucy and Maria!), to looking after my follow prod team members and making sure we all don’t breakdown! This show is incredibly special to me, and I desperately want it to sell as well as we possibly can do!
G: Alex, can you tell us a bit about Anatomy of Gray's technical aspects?
Alex: As Kane mentioned, this script is very much open to interpretation. With such a generally minimal staging, we saw an opportunity to bring our own special spin to the tech for ‘Anatomy of Gray’. Accordingly, the team put together ideas that we thought took our production in new directions to previous SUTCo shows. Of all of these, the combination of cabaret seating and lighting has been most exciting, and - I think – striking to behold. We wanted to make the audience ready to be a told a tale from the moment they walked in. The answer, we have discovered is to have stage that reaches beyond the boundaries of typical end-on performances, using overhead lighting to create an environment that plays into the show’s communal, folk tale ethos.
G: How have rehearsals been?
K: I’d say rehearsals have gone quite well, because we’ve had a lot of time we’ve managed to add in some interesting things like singing and some choreographed movement (not dancing but still some pretty cool stuff).
A: Rehearsals have been a challenge! Whilst all the cast
have really brought something unique to their characters right from their auditions, the task of figuring out how to use rehearsal spaces and translating that into the studio space has proved tough. However, by bringing an element of improvisation into the show, the cast have all excelled at developing their characters beyond the confines of the script. This has included a lot of fun with games that allowed them to use their imagination to add character during the rehearsal process.
H: Yeah, I’ve loved the rehearsal process. Even though
rehearsing takes up so many hours of everybody’s time, that is where the magic happens! Seeing the transformation from the words on paper to the incredible performances we have now has actually been an extremely emotional experience for me! I’m so proud of our cast, and I’m so excited for everybody to see it!
G: And finally, what's your favourite part of the show, any bits to look out for?
K: My favourite part of the show happens in the second last scene when the emotion really hits both the audience and the cast (without giving anything away...). We’ve managed to get the cast to do this really cool choreographed moment where some of the townsfolk are all moving in time with each other and every movement has a big impact on how the scene goes. So yeah that’s pretty cool!
Alex: I think our favourite moments as a prod team are those that utilise the proximity of the audience – namely, the scenes with comic or intimate elements. To see the cast responding so well to an audience that is only feet from them is wonderful, and the tech team has done a fantastic job of highlighting those performances. It’s all story-telling, remember! So look out for June’s tale as its told across the back of set, as well as the front!
Helen: The lights. The lighting is incredible. Oh my gosh, I
love how this show looks. Just keep looking at it. Don’t close your eyes.
Wednesday 1st May - Saturday 4th May 2019
Doors open at 7:00
Show starts at 7:30
£5 adv. Wednesday
£7 (£6 adv.) Thursday - Saturday
Sheffield University Drama Studio, Glossop Road
Tickets available here
Content Warning: Themes of death and illness and references to abortion, sex and religion