Whispers from the Wings


September 25, 2012

So we have left London.

And on to Aylesbury. It is extraordinary that the RSC do these tours that allow people who cannot get to Stratford or London to see the works of the greatest english writer by the greatest Shakespeare company. Still, I had no idea where Aylesbury was!

It is a lovely little town with the most gorgeous refurbished theatre (great canteen, superb staff, terrible showers).

The auditorium is beautiful. But, oh my God! Big! It is a wider stage but the auditorium (capacity 1100) just goes on and on. And up and up. So Lynne, our voice expert came along just to make sure that we were supporting our voices. Lovely to see her again.

The audience on the first night was much quieter than we were used to in London. A little unnerving. But at the end they were whooping and cheering.

Speaking to some members of the audience afterwards, they loved it. They were listening (rare in auditoriums nowadays) and were moved.

Sometimes, actors can judge success by how many laughs they get. They can think, 'Do they like me? Are they laughing?' It is an easy mistake to make. And a very seductive one. I have seen many a production lost because actors so desperately want to be loved. We are often so desperate for it. Maybe that desperation is why so many of us become actors. Hmm,discuss.

Anyway, read the reviews: we are still a hit. Which is nice. We only do six performances here, so it really is a case of in and out and on to the next place. The touring life.

When I am asked about touring I always say one has to get used to Marks and Spencer's because they are in almost every town and the quality is uniformly good. (I am not sponsored by them, by the way but am certainly open to offers).

It can be pretty hard living form home, and not all are cut out for it. (I have discussed this before in previous blogs.) But it is always interesting to see how towns are different and how they are all the same.

My dressing room equilibrium has been thrown into confusion this week because there are 11 of us in one dressing room! That means there is an awful lot of noise. I can sleep on a washing line so it makes no difference to me but wow, there is a lot of energy and testosterone when you get a group of men together like that. It reminds me of a sports locker room. (It probably smells like on too: sorry Aylesbury dressers!)

Being so close to some of the younger members of the cast makes me feel invigorated and young and also...very, very old. Such is life. I have heard (and I may be making this up) that actors are less likely to get dementia or alzheimer's because they are always learning lines, meeting new people, creating pathways in their brains as they are constantly challenging their minds. Maybe. Still, good to spend some more time with the yoof of today!

See you when I see you.

Btw, I think I mentioned in a previous blog that no one goes to sleep in the play. I, of course, neglected to mention Lucius, Brutus' servant who falls asleep almost all the time! I am an idiot. But then, you already knew that.

Andrew French

by Andrew French  |  1 comment

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Sep 26, 7:55pm

Andrew, wa delight to find your blog and get the 'backstage' picture. Having missed out in London I was in the audience for the SatMat at Aylesbury last weekend - and it was a fabulous experience. The performance was breathtaking; staging, music, dramatic presence - it all works so well in its African setting. I'd never been to the Waterside before and was surprised to find such a striking venue out in the boonies (sorry... counties). All told, it was an extraordinary afternoon: the best Shakespeare I think I have ever seen - a vivid, pounding heart of a production. Kudos to all - quite simply, spectacular.

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