Mart Crowley’s seminal play, The Boys In The Band (which premiered just months before the Stonewall riots), opens tonight at the Park Theatre. Ian Hallard plays party host Michael, who gets an unexpected – and unwanted – surprise in the shape of a figure from his past. He invited us to share a day in his life, the day of the technical rehearsal, complete with customised marshmallows, dressing room selfies, and, happily, plenty of Bunsen the Labrador.
1.Wake up call. Still adjusting to my new hair colour: dyed black yesterday for the part. I’m still doing double-takes each time I pass a mirror.
2. Mark and I walk Bunsen our Labrador into work. The Park Theatre is gloriously dog-friendly!
3. The Girls’ dressing room.
4. Goody bags courtesy of our producers, Tom O’Connell and James Seabright.
5. Harold and the Cowboy pose by their chalk drawing.
6. Stage Manager John Pemberton surveys our fantastic set before we start causing mayhem on it.
7. Harold applies his pockmarks. Mark is truly in his element.
8. Protect the costumes at all costs! Bibs must be worn when eating.
9. The dressing room contemplates what is about to happen. Daniel looks particularly despairing.
10. At least somebody is relaxed about the whole thing.
11. The production team watch RC-Annie oversee the fight call.
12. Contemplation of a director.
13. Violence is about to break out.
14. Details from the set.
15. Period lamp-shade!
16. The view from the mezzanine level.
17. Michael loves his divas. How many can you name?
18. Sage advice.
19. Harold doesn’t appear until the final seconds of Act 1, so Mark uses the opportunity to do a little moonlighting and catch up on some writing.
20. Dressing room selfie!
21. Prop table.
22. Tom, Debbie and James – our producers and production manager – pop in to see how it’s all going.
23. Larry and Hank cuddle up. Don’t they make a lovely couple?
24. Jack receives a first night gift of customised marshmallows – and offers us all the opportunity to eat his face.
25. Visiting the Boys’ dressing room.
26. The view through Michael’s front door…
27. The drinks pile up.
28. Michael is getting hostile.
29. Harold and his birthday gift.
30. Bus journey home at the end of a LONG (but productive) day!
A huge thank you to Ian for taking all of these photos and giving us a fantastic insight into the technical rehearsal. The Boys In The Band plays at the Park Theatre until 30 October.