We had rather a humbling first preview of Medea yesterday. I am sure it is quite wrong of me in terms of theatrical etiquette to blog about it, but it was really not good.
The main problem was the sound. There is sound running through much of the performance – waves, and a pulsing heartbeat noise as the action hots up, as well as various other effects at key moments, like yells and bells, and also some songs.
For reasons I don’t understand and are apparently connected to a change of soundcard on the venue computer, it all went very wrong. First the sound effects were far too loud – the sea in the opening scenes sounded like they were acting on the deck of the Titanic as it slipped under – and secondly they were completely out of synch, so the actors were reacting to noises off which had not in fact happened or were ignoring very loud noise events indeed which had just happened but shouldn’t have.
I presume as something to do with the same computer problem, the lighting went wrong as well – Nadira laughed this morning that it is difficult to soliloquise while trying very hard to work your way into any available light. On top of which twice during the performance the house lights came full on.
The cast were wonderful in these circumstances – including Nadira, if I may say so, but obviously struggled to maintain full intensity throughout. Now everyone is working like crazy to try to solve these problems by tonight – being Edinburgh Fringe, without any access to the venue to solve them!
Actually, being an old-fashioned sort of person, I should be delighted if this all resulted in a much simplified production, pared down to the actors and the text.