London, the center of gravity for musicals in Europe, is becoming the second capital for TEST. The creative team from Basel and Berlin recently spent an intensive four days in London, in meetings that were held over cups of tea in the Savoy Hotel along the Thames, in discussions over fine-dining in central London, and over plenty of pints of beer in the pubs of Kentish Town and Muswell Hill in the North. And not forgetting a stopover in Hackney in the East.
The crucial meetings during the stay were with several London theater producers, as well as representatives from the film industry and academia, who offered their deep-reaching knowledge and vast expertise on how to bring TEST to London following the engagement in Basel in February and March 2016. The upshot: bringing TEST to London is eminently doable, but a lot of tenacity and help is required. That said, the quality of TEST is such that the show is attracting a lot of attention, as the London meetings showed.
The chief takeaway from the four days of meetings is that TEST is making believers out of the people who encounter it. During a Saturday evening dinner at the home of one of TEST’s London supporters, the consensus was that TEST was the kind of production that would fit in well with the cross-platform style of London.
“I can imagine that, while TEST is playing in a theater in London, a university could hold a symposium on gene editing while a museum could have an exhibition about genetic engineering,” said one of the London-based TEST supporters. “In fact, London is used to operating at this level.”
The London Design Festival could be a model, said one of the persons attending the dinner. This festival is a set of various events and shows, including lectures, conferences, exhibitions, and public installations. In the case of TEST, the public performances in a theater would take the place of the public installations.
Priority number one of the visit was to convince London producers to come and see TEST in Basel next year. For TEST to reach escape velocity, it is crucial that producers experience it live.
To that end, the London meetings were a major success, as three producers have already given the definitive word that they will be in Basel in February 2016 for TEST. Several more producers are expected to provide confirmation soon that they will be in attendance when the curtain rises on TEST for the first time on February 20.
And for the producers who can’t make it to Basel, the performances of TEST at Scala Basel will be filmed with multiple cameras that will lend a you-are-there experience to the video production.
When not talking with producers and potential investors, the TEST creative team met to look carefully once again at the music and script, song-by-song. Director Hanna Price, who lives in London, did not have far to go for the meetings. TEST composer Jakob Vinje flew in from Berlin to meet producers and TEST supporters, and to work with Hannah. The TEST music directors were also on hand to go over the music and script. And of course TEST co-authors Krista Jaquet and Jamie Sievert were also there. Thus amidst all the meetings, the core creative team was also in London to plan the strategy going forward until opening night.
Even the breaks in the work turned into working sessions, whether it was a walk along the Camden Locks or a wonderful dinner at a friend’s home in Stoke Newington. With TEST opening night just a short two months away, every moment counts. Meanwhile, London is counting big-time in the future plans for TEST.