The Play’s the thing.

I’m writing this from my bed at 4.13am. Why so early, you ask? Well, it’s nerves. BIG pre-show nerves to be honest and they’re keeping me awake. So this is an attempt to quash them by spilling my thoughts and hopefully I’ll bore myself (but not you, dear reader) to sleep. I need to be fresh tomorrow as it’s the opening night, and for the last hour I’ve been staring into the darkness of my room with about 120 pages of dialogue, director’s notes and general cues spinning around my lucid state. Bloody plays!

Don’t get me wrong – I love the theatre. It’s where I started and since I was 11 years old I’ve been on stage pretty much every year without fail. It’s home to me. Entertaining is what I thrive on. But sometimes I do wonder though, if I prefer the rehearsal period more than the actual performance. It’s such an odd state to live in, being an actor. We are pretty much in a state of constant worry: we worry why we’re not working, then when we get an audition we worry about doing the audition, then when your agent says “You got the job!” you’re relieved only for a split-second, before being plunged back into THE WORRY as you ask yourself “Fuck, can I do the job?” This cycle is broken ONLY as you rehearse: you read, play, get to know your cast, drink copious amounts of tea and explore the beautiful craft. Then, it’s opening night and The Worry Returns (like a terrible movie sequel) – keeping you awake at night (like now) and making your hair-line recede along with your nails as you chew them in a nervous frenzy. This cycle continues throughout the run of the show: you worry about audience numbers, making them laugh (if it’s a comedy) making them cry (tragedy…or a comedy), the bloody reviews (don’t ever read them) and then it’s closing night and you are back to square one, as the very next day you are unemployed – cue, THE WORRY.

Ok, so there is a bit of dramatic licence there. So apologies, nobody likes a whinge-bag, but I am just in a bit of tizz as this last month has been like no other rehearsal period….

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The play is called My Romantic History, written by D.C. Jackson:- a wonderful post-modern 3-hander comedy that has awards attached all over itself like a duded-up dandy. It’s a gift of play for an actor, so when I got the call to play the lead, I jumped straight in. The only problem was we are doing it as a two-night run off our own backs, with a mind to hopefully be able to get a transfer at another theatre later in the year. Think of it as a demo-tape for producers. It’s total Fringe Theatre. That means no money and very little rehearsal time. So when you work you have to totally focus on the job. There’s no time to be self-indulgent (anecdote-filled tea breaks? don’t be daft!) like most rehearsal periods. It’s rehearsing by-the-seat-of-your-pants. So that rehearsal ‘worry hiatus’ that I mentioned before does not exist – it is a head down, learn your lines and bite your nails to stumps in about 2 weeks process. Yes folks, 2 weeks!

But PHEW, we are in a good place. Yesterday was the last rehearsal and tomorrow/today (as it’s actually the A.M now) we will tech and dress the show ready for our FULL-HOUSE. Can’t believe it, but we sold out. What wonders! Hopefully my little rant here has somewhat given my nails a bit of growing time and I can finally get some sleep. Just so you know the play is directed by the wonderful Marianne Oldham and produced by David Ricardo Pearce.