When I became a trainee director at The Other Room, Artistic Director Kate Wasserberg gave me some great advice – “Work with people who scare you. People who you think are much more talented than you. People who will push you to be your very best.” A year later I am sat at a table surrounded by people who completely fit that description, a whole team who are looking to me and my wonderful co-director, Dan Jones, to lead them through the venue’s latest creative adventure.
Yes I am scared, terrified in fact, but more than that, I’m excited. I’ve really landed on my feet for what will be my professional directing debut – a stunning play, a top quality cast and some of the finest creative minds in Wales all working towards the same end vision. We are two weeks into rehearsals and I still can’t quite believe my luck.
Directors Chelsey Gillard and Dan Jones with actor Neal McWilliams
Constellation Street is an absolutely beautiful play and one I feel privileged to be working on. Matthew Bulgo seems to have taken a look inside the heads of real people from the streets of Cardiff, heard their innermost thoughts and put them on paper for us all to experience. Each of the four monologues is hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure, but more than that they are totally honest and believable.
Of course there are challenges in every creative endeavour. For Constellation Street we needed to find an exciting and engaging way to present the four monologues whilst also maintaining their intimacy and showcasing the beautiful craftsmanship of the writing. We may be completely bonkers but Dan and I have set out to give audiences something they have not yet experienced in The Other Room, to make this the venue’s biggest show, and that’s quite the challenge in what is one of the smallest theatres in Wales.
Now for the big revelation – Drumroll please!
Constellation Street is going to be presented as a promenade performance. Our incredible designer Amy Jane Cook will be transforming The Other Room into three other rooms – each one a fully realised environment for our characters to inhabit and live within. You will be invited to enter their worlds and witness their stories up close.
From reading this you can probably tell I am completely in love with the show. I am so thrilled to be sharing it with an audience and I really hope you fall in love with these characters in the same way I have – I’ve even picked up some of their affectations, including a broad Cardiff accent and a deep belief in the power of good deeds. I’m already dreading saying goodbye to them at the end of the run.
Constellation Street by Matthew Bulgo opens at The Other Room on Tuesday 12 April and runs until Sat 30 April. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.otherroomtheatre.com
Main picture: Director Dan Jones, writer Matthew Bulgo and Director Chelsey Gillard
Photography: Aenne Pallasca)