Four Years On | Remember the Porter!
As part of our 'Four Years On' series, director Hannah Drake caught up with the original cast of Macbeth at the Redcliffe Caves to hear what they're doing now, and how the production shaped them.
In today's blog, Andrew Kingston shares his experience playing the dual roles of the PORTER and ROSS.
HANNAH: Thank you so much for doing this - it's so interesting to hear people's reflections this far on. Let's kick off at the beginning: why did you want to get involved with the show?
ANDY: [Macbeth is] a play I love and have a history with so that was a big factor, but more so was the chance to work with a new company, notably to work with you and Justin, which was only solidified after the R and D. And of course, the space itself was very exciting. From a professional point of view, it was a decent length theatre job, so it made sense in every regard!
HANNAH: As you say, the space is pretty unusual. What was it like actually performing in the caves?
ANDY: I personally found working in the caves very easy, it almost felt natural to me (I'm not sure what that says about me!) The temperature was perfect for me, and I found the air quality actually improved my voice, I also like the natural "darkness" as oppose to the natural light that we as theatre makers are often blocking out. I can honestly say that I loved being in the caves and really didn't have any particular challenges.
HANNAH: Do you have any favourite memories of the experience as a whole? Did it live up to expectations?
ANDY: I think the initial singing rehearsal in the caves was very special (we were all stood in the witches cave near the entrance and making a good old racket). The first site visit was also very exciting.
There are many smaller moments, but audience "oooohhs and aaaaaaahs" particularly when we would emerge from the gloom as witches were always high points.
HANNAH: Do you think doing the show changed you as a performer?
ANDY: I think the experience gave me a better understanding that unique theatre jobs present unique challenges! I am used to long runs of Christmas shows and tours etc, so the duration of the run being not too long but maybe longer than your average fringe tour was totally fine, but the mental demand of the 13 shows a week (is that right?) changed me in that, from that point on, I have been careful with my mental preparations before heading into work.
For example, when we came to remount the show the following year, I had a much better understanding of what I could and could not take on alongside the show, and of looking after myself (again, more mental fatigue than physical) in between shows and on days off.
HANNAH: Was there a particular moment in the show itself that has stuck with you?
ANDY: That's easy, the fight and the witches closing in to perform the final song, you could feel the excitement from the audience, always special every night, to be honest the whole siege was always fun, I loved the running and back and forth, the whole energy of it was great to be a part of.
HANNAH: I agree - I used to crouch just out of sight in a nook during that final sequence and it was so exciting as the drumming built, and the sense of panic took hold. Finally, what are you up to now? You've recently set up your own company?
ANDY: Company is going well, we've had an R and D for our first show, [Vet Detective], and rehearsals kick off in less than two weeks, Which is a bit mad. I'm directing this one!
Vet Detective runs at the Wardrobe Theatre:
25th Jul 2019 - 17th Aug 2019 at 7.30pm (plus 2pm on 10th and 17th)
Tickets are just £12 (£10 Previews on 25th & 26th July) and on sale now: http://thewardrobetheatre.com/livetheatre/vet-detective/
2015 production photography by Graham Burke