The actors like to make their own sound effects. It’s a lot more work but worth it. I liked the sound of the door opening and closing and so one of my favourite props is the door. Virtuoso David Botten, opened and closed it with flair. In rehearsals he provided a running commentary on his actions, such as saying he “closed the door, sarcastically”.
Chris Jans tried out two or three prototypes before coming up with the perfect “body bag” which he would drop each time the drunken Malcolm Lowry fell in the play. The bag eventually contained, baseballs, pillows etc. and made quite a thud. Chris also was great on an old typewriter, clacking the keys and whipping pages in and out with a flourish.
Kathy McIntyre, glamorous as usual, found a sparkly ball to signal the magic realism in the play. And of course, her singing was terrific. In the campfire scene someone asks Margerie (Kathy) to sing a song. It was so beautiful, I wish I’d asked her to sing the whole song, made popular in the twenties.
The other actors joined in and it was deliberately realistic, the way they acted it out, saying they knew the words but then singing the wrong words.
Tina Jones carried her version of the song, throughout the play. Tina had two big roles, and I learned a lot from her about writing dialogue.
And that Drew Staniland! He made Malcolm Lowry come alive. He played the ukulele, even used it to round the audience up and back to their seats after intermission. He made the biggest wooden contraption to make the tiniest sound effect in the play. Drew continued to tell the Malcolm Lowry story with his English accent a day later at the library’s presentation of the National Film Board documentary, An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry.