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It really is a most enjoyable experience writing these posts for you. I get home from rehearsals and plonk myself down in front of my laptop and get typing. Through them I’m getting to share with you the amazing work that is being photo (29)produced in these rehearsals and to (I’d like to hope at least) tickle your fancy into coming along to the Performance/Workshops at one of our six venues across England.

Now, as I intimated in my last blog, yesterday was about laying down the voices for the multi-media bits. Working in a recording studio is always exciting. Fantasies of doing a duet of Born this Way with Gaga re-emerged out of some adolescent part of my brain – honestly, put me in front of a microphone and all sense of professionalism seems to evaporate from me.

ANYWAY, fighting these rising urges, I accompanied the team into the room where we sat down and bashed out the parts of the script that will be played over the sound system. To my great joy I actually got to record a few lines myself – perhaps not quite my dream of recording a future chart-topper but it will do…for now. Plus it’s great to have my voice used as part of the project!! One thing that really strikes me about these recordings is just how different the performers sound. Had I not watched them record the lines, I may well think that we had hired a couple of extra actors to read these parts. A real testament to the versatility of our actors who, when all’s said and done, have the challenging task of multi-rolling characters, some of whom, twice their age through to characters that have experienced next to nothing of the world.

My theatre-senses tingled when I thought about the job the directors had to do in order to make these characters distinct and recognisable without disrupting the flow of the overall piece. Lucky they had me in the room, really, so that I could watch what they did – chip in a bit – but ultimately take it all in in order for me to retell it here to you lovely readers.

The fact that we have now done the recorded bits means that the focus can shift to the live-action bits – which are my favourites! Working with Dharmesh I was able to watch the creation of two completely contrasting characters – one a shy, fay northerner with a boyfriend he met online and the other a more mature guy who has grown tired of the superficiality of the gay scene and is looking for something more real.

Perhaps the most fascinating discussion we had was on the pros and cons of the gay scene. At one point, Dharmesh asked me why some people don’t like the gay scene and it got me thinking about how LGB culture can be a real refuge for some people but can also exclude a large proportion of the community. This made me assess my own views on how inclusive places like Soho and Canal Street really are and whether there needs to be something done to tackle exclusivity and superficiality at the heart of the gay scene. Working on this project has really made me take a good, hard look at myself and the culture I have surrounded myself with and to reflect upon what needs to be changed. IMG_5826 Just another way that Beneath the Surface is challenging ideas and encouraging discussion.

The scary thing is that this marks the end of the second day of rehearsing, when we only had five days to start with. Steve made the brilliantly terrifying point that if this was a four week process we would now be very close to the end of the second week…somewhat unsettling considering how much we still have to cover. However, rather than focus on how much more we have to do, a healthier stance is to celebrate how much we’ve got done. As well as the show we’re attracting attention online – Attitude Magazine tweeted us yesterday (a personal highlight for me as I absolutely love that magazine). So progress on all fronts …how exciting!! Until the next time – stay fabulous!

Rob Beck

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