So how will it rain?

Monday, August 13th 2018

“What if we used real rain?” he said.
“Real rain? Like, actual wet rain?”
“Yeah” he said. “Can we do that?” he said.
“Actual wet rain? Water? Inside the Theatre?”
“Yeah” he said.
“Well, I suppose anything’s possible…”

And that’s a very typical exchange between my Director and I. Similar exchanges were had about using real trees for ‘Into the Woods” not to mention the 5 swings dropping from the rafters. Then there was “What if we had a revolving flower shop?” for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. More recently, “…and what if the Divas could fly?” However, what the Director wants the Director generally gets (as long as the price is right).

Since then a lot of water has, quite literally, gone under the metaphorical bridge and, well, we like a challenge in the S.I. Workshop. Clearly, this was going to be difficult but how difficult? The hardest part wasn’t making the rain fall. Oh no. 70 meters of ABS pipe and a few tubs of solvent weld adhesive had that covered in no time. It wasn’t drilling 600 tiny raindrop sized holes and it wasn’t separating the water and the electrics (once we’d worked out where the electrics were and how to get the water into the eaves.) Ensuring the cast and costumes get dried off asap after the matinee performances, using an army of amazing ‘laundry’ volunteers was easy. No, the hardest part was going to be keeping all of that splashy wetness off of the lovely new seating recently installed at The Playhouse.

I know how irrepressible our family of cast can be when they get caught up in the moment. That water is gonna splish, splosh all over the splash zone! I have vivid, somewhat frightful, memories of the front rows of our audiences coming into contact with fluids; plenty of blood in ‘Sweeney Todd’ and during ‘Urinetown’, well I’m sure you can work that out.

We considered lots of options. Plastic sheeting? A little uncomfortable. Umbrellas? Not good for the rest of our audience. Perspex Screen? So ugly. Then came the genius bit. We’re not going to worry about it, you are! Those in the Splash Zone get to cover up with a plastic poncho (quite thin so not worth stealing). And, rather than you, our gorgeous audience members being horrified at the prospect, you’re snapping those seats right up! Get in quick before they’re all gone. And it is just water. I promise.

Finally, our last conversation began something like this:

“So, there’s this flying car…”

You can see

Singin’ in the Rain
Norwich Playhouse

August 22nd-25th, nightly at 7:30pm
August 23rd, 25th and 26th: 2:30pm