Our latest production of Alan Bennett’s ‘The Habit of Art’ is a play within a play. We watch a cast, writer and stage management team rehearsing a production of, ‘Caliban’s Day’, a new play exploring W.H Auden and Benjamin Britten. We wanted to give you a sneak peek at our own brilliant cast as they prepare for a night at York Theatre Royal (photos by Sam Taylor) and a few facts about how they prepare for the show…
We spoke to Robert Mountford who plays the writer.
1) Do you have any backstage rituals or superstitions?
Not particularly – I’ve never been really superstitious. On tour I like to learn a bit about the town I’m visiting and being a music fan I pick a band or singer from the town and put up a song of theirs on Facebook – don’t know why but I’ve found some wonderful and bizarre tunes from yesteryear by doing so.
2) How do you warm up before a show?
After I’ve looked in the mirror and thought “Oh God, why do we do it to ourselves”, I try and make sure I’m as prepared and as relaxed as possible. I usually go over my script, look over any notes or thoughts the director’s put in my mind. I like to get on the stage and feel comfortable with the space and check in with the rest of the company.
3) Do you have any funny stories or anecdotes from behind the scenes of The Habit of Art?
As we’re on all the time we don’t spend too much time backstage. Although as I’m playing the writer of the play within the play I remember feeling a lot less pressure going on stage than usual. I remember when we opened thinking, ‘those poor actors, wouldn’t like to be in their shoes’.
4) How do you make yourself feel at home in a theatre for the week?
Cards from the kids, fruit, music and lots of coffee.
5) What is your favourite theatre to work in or are you most excited to visit?
Loved being back at Salisbury Play house which I played last year, Liverpool as I did my degree there a lifetime ago but each town and theatre brings back memories.
Catch us on tour this Autumn – find out more.