October 3, 2012
So: In Bradford, the iron didn't go out. In theatre parlance, that means the curtain that comes down onstage during the interval, did not go back up again. Oh, dear. The show, to be fair has been getting a little long but a 45 minute interval really didn't help matters. It was all very confusing back stage. But that was not the amazing thing.
Let me state one thing before I go any further: I love playing different theatres. It's one of the magical things about the job I do. I have been all over the world doing something I love. Lots of places offer lots of different challenges yet Bradford felt surprisingly respectful. Actors always want love. Who doesn't? So, applause and cheers and garlands. We thought they liked us but didn't (crucially) love us.
We were wrong. Because, as we listened backstage to The Director; who spookily had turned up in Bradford just to catch up with the show, (or was he here to fire someone? Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean they're not all out to get me!) as he explained why we could not carry on, we thought the show was over for the afternoon.
The flustered, embarrassed faces of the Bradford staff, who were trying absolutely everything to get the show back on. We could hear audience members beg to see the show: Maybe we could do the show in the foyer? How about a reading? With us sitting on the front of the stage?
Were we hearing this right? This respectful, relatively sparse audience were desperate to see the end of the show. The auditorium was by no means full (not empty, but not full) and we had judged them by their size rather than by their passion. Always a foolish choice. We were told to step to the front of the theatre (in front of the seats!) and take a bow. They went crazy. It was humbling and a little embarrassing.
Then, of course, the obvious happened. The curtain went up. Of course. How could it not? When we were standing there, looking sheepish? Expressing our disappointment about not completing the show. We just couldn't even with the best will in the world. We just can't...Oh, maybe we can.
Anyway, it went well. A moment here to mention Ray Fearon. Who ends the first half. Waited for nearly an hour. Then went on and smashed the most famous scene in the play. Class.
Next stop Salford.
by Andrew French
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