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Poets’ Corner in Austria – Day 2

Bringing the Corner to the ‘Bruck

Poets' Corner

The clouds had shifted this morning and we could see how amazing the scenery around our house is. The novelty of tall mountains with snow on still hasn’t worn off.

We had a quick breakfast before working out more Austrian bus routes and travelling to the city for a 12 noon call. The space was being used upstairs, but we gathered in the room that Andrew told us would be where the press conference would happen later in the day. He also told us that we’d be appearing as a feature on the regional news as well. All these things were to happen later in the day. First was lunch in the University down the road. Our venue isn’t linked to them in any way; it’s just that it’s really cheap there. It’s a bit nicer than our refectory as well – better views.

Over lunch Andrew talked with the crew about the press conference later. We’d always wanted to set it up as a poetical discussion as well, so we’d gathered poems together that had been written by the poets in the play to be read by the actors to prompt some academic discussion. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all works out this afternoon. Apparently there’s free wine, so that will help.

We walked back along the river to the venue. I don’t want to type about scenery again; it’s probably really boring it read. It just keeps taking you aback when you’re out here. Simply amazing.

The audience

View from the backThis was the first time the actors had seen the space and all were happy. It is actually a lot like our Fringe venue except much bigger and not leaking. The next task was to build the set, which is still ongoing around me. We have some amazing set pieces to work with. Thomas and Andreas put the gothic flat on a trolley and rolled it through all of Innsbruck. We all admired the set pieces laid around that they had gotten for us. The play is finally going to look like how I imagined it would in my head all that time ago. Speaking of which I should help them build it.

Press Times

The second half of the day was truly surreal. It started normally with a run of the show in the space whilst set was built around and lights gelled. Every department was doing their own job and ignoring others really, which is what needed to happen to get the space ready in time. I have to work some crazy touch-screen sound desk. You never know if you’ve pressed play or not, which is very irritating. Not ideal when you’re in a soundproof box anyway.

Austrian News Network filming part of the play

Austrian News Network filming part of the play

The day got more surreal with the arrival of the television crew. They wanted to take a few minutes of footage from the play and an interview with Andrew about it to put on the news that evening. It was a very silent and focused 20 minutes. We used the scene where Dickens enters as it has lots of “hello Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron…Oh, and what’s your name” as well as a Reuben and Evelyn scene that Andrew described as “saucy”. And then suddenly they were done and we continued rehearsing and teching.

The next big event was the press conference. We decided to set this up with all twelve of us on a curved table ready to answer questions. It opened with the actors reading poetry from their characters and then questions were posed. They ranged from the writing to history of the characters to the history of the company. It was great fun to talk about the play in this way and to have it taken so seriously. It’s all on film somewhere I’ll put a link here when it’s uploaded to the internet.

The press conference closed with lots of free wine and chatting with Austrian academics, students and some press people before we returned upstairs to iron out the rest of the tech in time for the 7pm news that we would be appearing on.

Gunther, the venue manager, rigged a projector up for us to watch the news on. Drinks from the bar were on the house and we sat and waited. We were the 4th item, which was really great. I have to say I never expected my first televised work to be on Austrian television, but there it was. With a few million Austrian’s watching. The reporter plugged the show and said it was a “rare event” for people to see. I don’t think we could have asked for better publicity.

After this was the cast meal in a restaurant nearby, covered by the Austro-British society. There was much drinking and eating and chatting to the Austrian team who’d joined us. It was a great end to a very encouraging day. Tomorrow the play is performed.

Cast meal

Cast meal