Opening Night in Beijing
A brief spell of company partying last night was succeeded by a busy day of preparations for our opening night of Romeo & Juliet. The Technicians were back on stage at 9am finding ways to adapt the requirements of the production to the availability of local equipment. In the UK we tour our own lighting which is always in perfect working order but the logistics of overseas touring, particularly to the Far East, means that there is insufficient shipping time between the end of the UK tour and the date it is required overseas. Shipment to China takes a minimum of 6 weeks and air freight is too cost prohibitive. We are lucky that our technicians always work wonders with what is available to them. Class took place again in the studio 2 floors below the stage and although everyone is getting more used to the labyrinth, there is still a sense of people sticking together so at least they won’t be lost alone! The stage of the Opera Theatre is absolutely massive with space in the side and rear stages to hold around 6 productions concurrently. The clever design of Romeo and Juliet meant that it expanded well to fit the space available. Although rehearsal started 30 minutes late all was finished on time leaving the Technicians a little time work some final magic on the lighting.
Straight after the rehearsal Hannah Bateman and Kenneth Tindall were interviewed live on Radio Leeds down the mobile phone. It was good to know that at home they were pleased to know how we were getting on in Beijing – inevitably part of the conversation was about the weather. It is definitely colder here in Beijing.
We had a capacity audience this evening with the whole performance bought out by a sponsor who always buys all the seats on 1 January regardless of the production. Toby Batley played Romeo with Hannah Bateman as Juliet. From our perspective the performance went well but audience response was somewhat reserved from the almost totally Chinese audience. There was a slight hiatus at the start of Act 3 with the orchestra pit lights failing two bars into the entr’acte which brought the performance to an abrupt halt. A suspect cable was identified after a few minutes with the performance continuing without further incident. The local Chinese orchestra was very well received by the audience!
|All photos: Neil Jarman|