VarGladSpexarna has the premiere of their new show Sherlock Holmes on Tuesday, March 17th. After weeks of rehearsals, the preparation for this big production culminates in what the members of the spex call “Sunday from Hell”.
The entire AF building is buzzing with busy people. In the basement, last alterations on the costumes are being done, while two stories above the sound and lighting technicians are working on the stage and microphone setup for the actors. All the members of the technical group arrived at 5.00 in the morning to get the stage ready for final rehearsals. In between them, the set is getting its last touches of paint and some of the actors are on stage practicing dialogue and songs.
“There is a lot of silent work involved in setting up a spex”, explains Martina Huzell, vice-president of this semester’s VarGladSpexarna and responsible for helping out board members with whatever they need during this 22-hour-day.
According to her, the actors get the feedback and appreciation from the audience throughout the show while the technicians, costume and stage designers and everyone who works in the background do not receive this kind of acknowledgement. This is why it is nice for everyone to gather on the Sunday before the premiere, work towards the same goal of setting up a good show and value each other’s contributions.
Even though the unofficial title for this last leg of preparations is called “Sunday from Hell” (Helvetessöndag) the atmosphere seems light and humorous in this “organized chaos”, as Elisabeth Engström, PR representative of VarGlad puts it.
“It’s not so hellish after all. There is food and coffee to keep everyone happy.” Besides, it is a necessary evil since the group did not have access to the stage before this day. Cramming everything into a 24-hour period is thus inevitable.
All in all, there are about 140 people involved in the production, Elisabeth Engström says, 80 of which make up the regular base of the organization.
This semester’s Sherlock Holmes is directed by Niklas Hjern and Lasse Buhl, both of whom also star in the play. It is already the sixth production for which Lasse Buhl is responsible and he proudly admits that the entire spex has turned into “a well-oiled machine” by now. Most of the people involved have years of experience and this has made the preparation process more professional over the years.
Niklas Hjern, who has acting experience in the spex, is directing for the first time. He explains that this final day is used to streamline the production, tweak some songs, make sure the technical equipment works and come up with potential ‘retake’ ideas, as it is customary for the audience in a spex to demand a retake of a particularly funny scene. Despite their very busy schedule, they both seem relaxed and confident that the day will go well, “so far we haven’t had any big problems”, says Niklas.
“Of course, it’s a frustrating feeling during the night when your microphone doesn’t work all of a sudden”, Martina Huzell points out, who also has a role in the play. But even though the spex time is stressful and consumes a lot of the participants’ time, people return to it every semester.
“I promise myself, this is my last year, but it never is”, Martina Huzell laughs. She appreciates the great mix of people who create a welcoming atmosphere and provide a home in Lund for everyone involved. All day you work towards the feeling you have when you ride your bike home at 3 am after the ‘Sunday from hell’, knowing that each person did their job and everything is set to work out at the premiere, she smiles.