Chess is without doubt my all time favourite musical. I have seen all the major productions of the show - London '86, Broadway '88, Sydney '90, Stockholm '02, UK Tour '10, Gothenburg '12 and most recently the ENO production in London '18. Of all these, the London original is still my favourite version and I find that with every rewrite and new production the show loses a lot more than it gains. I am the first to admit that the London production was far from perfect but it still stands up as the most complete version of the show. I really do feel that within Chess there is a fantastic musical production waiting to get out, but as of yet it has not been given the design, direction and rewriting that it needs.
Of course being a would-be director I am naturally going to be of the opinion that my version of the show would be the best! I did hope for a while that I might get the chance to prove this by staging my own production of the show, but I always wanted to change too much and so a licence could never be granted. Now, with the wonder of the web I hope to ‘stage’ my own version in words and pictures. I won’t be including the entire script that I have written for the show, but I will provide you with a synopsis, a detailed description of the staging, some sketches of the sets and costumes and eventually photographs of the set model.
I hope that by reading the detailed descriptions you will be able to imagine yourself sitting in a theatre and watching the show being staged in front of your eyes. It’s been difficult to decide exactly what is the best way to format the ‘performance’. Originally I was going to do separate paragraphs for the synopsis and the staging, but in the end I felt that the best way to make the whole thing flow like a real production, was to combine everything together. I hope this works for you and that you enjoy the performance. I would be more than happy to hear what you think, both of the virtual concept itself and my ideas for the show.
There are many ideas that may not work and I have several different ideas and locations for the same scenes. This version is the one that I feel comes closes to helping to correct some of the things that I felt didn't quite work in the original. I look at it as a kind of 'workshop' version, a starting point for trying new things and working out what could work and what couldn't. Obviously in this context I have made many changes that could never happen, such as lyric and dialogue alterations, but these are all just by way of seeing what could be possible if anything was possible. I hope you will enjoy my ideas. Many of you will disagree with them and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I will also explain some of my own alternative ideas during the after show party, where we will eagerly await the arrival of the reviews!
Before moving on to the programme, why not take a look at a couple of my Chess videos below. The opening to Bangkok, with the video screens and news reports is the kind of thing I would love to recreate on stage.