Peeking into the rehearsal room, the actors are doing their acting, the director his directing, and those allowed to watch their fair share of laughing – “The Ladykillers” is a comedy, after all. Everyone involved in this production is more than a little busy at this point during the run-up to the premiere on 6 June. Aside from those onstage, about 15 people are on-board as crew members as of now. They have agreed to work backstage, on the set, on costumes, lights, props etc. A whole lot more help will be needed with the set building, so if you feel like joining the crew, let us know!
With roughly four weeks to go to opening night, this seems like the perfect opportunity to chat with someone who has an overview of how the production is going: Lexi von Hoffmann, the producer of “The Ladykillers”. (Like all other parts at an amateur theatre group like the Hamburg Players, producing a play is a voluntary job and will change from production to production.)
What is the biggest challenge awaiting the production between now and the premiere?
Lexi: “We have a complicated set and a lot of things need to be built – and so sturdily that they will survive some rough-housing. Oh, and I have to find a way to make killing someone onstage with a very visible knife in the head look real. Anyone with ideas, get in touch! But that’s just the technical side of things. For the actors, the challenges are of course different. One of them has to learn to play the cello! And all of them are involved in intricate physical comedy that has to look real, and natural, and easy, while being entirely safe for the actors.”
For those who might not be in the know: what exactly does the job of a producer at the HPs entail? Are you the boss of the director?!
Lexi: “Ooooh, no, most certainly not! Producing is an organisational job designed to free the director to do the artistic, creative work without having to worry about the nuts and bolts of the production. It is the producer’s job sometimes, however, to tell the director that something that he or she would like to get, build or do is simply not possible from a financial, technical, or logistical point of view. Setting limits here may look like meddling in the creative process – but it’s really more of a reality check, in terms of what the Hamburg Players can do, than trying to influence artistic decisions.”
What is your favourite thing about this HP production of "The Ladykillers"?
Lexi: “Can I only name one? The genius criminal derailed by a little old lady! The prize-fighter who struggles with the cello! The cross-dressing colonel! The assassin who is scared of old ladies! The bank robber with a cleaning fetish! The incredibly ugly parrot! The scarf! The constable who can’t see the wood for the trees!”
More about "The Ladykillers" here.