Whispers from the Wings


July 31, 2012


Our tour goes from Stratford and ends in Moscow. Yes, Moscow! that means, apart from a rather pleasant time at home with family and friends in London, we are on the move. I know, this sounds glamourous. Drinking in different bars all around the country. Trying local foods and... other delicacies. Text, Drugs and Rock n Roll. Lovely.

Let me enlighten you. At some point during the rehearsal process (usually when you are trying to finalise learning your lines and costume and a million other things) you will be handed lots of pieces of paper. On them will be a list of various places to stay whilst on tour. This is the Digs List. There is a legend that there was a time when landladies were INCREDIBLY accommodating to actors passing through. but those times are gone (sadly?) Now we have a few lines of description, a price and a phone number. How to choose?

When I was younger I wanted to save as much money as I could, and so always went for the cheapest option so that I could save money which I could spend on necessities like velvet trousers (don't ask). This seems logical except if your digs are: (deep breath) smelly, damp, noisy, distant, infested, unfriendly, racist, small, cold, dark or just not nice, you spend more time in pubs and clubs and shops drinking, dancing and buying velvet trousers (seriously, don't ask!).

If your digs are nice and have the added luxury of wifi, you can spend most of the day in your bedroom, saving money, watching films, sending emails. Lovely. But is that what you want? Some actors don't like socialising, just like real people! Some find large groups of certain people difficult. If those certain people are loud, boisterous actors, then some people can literally hide away from their colleagues. And who can blame them?

But seeing the people you work with socially is one of the best things about touring. I missed most of that in Stratford due to Theo being born. And though I do enjoy watching films and sitting at home; I will be out a little more too. So. Which digs?

There is another problem. Others may get the place you want first. Damn them.

There is another problem. I am allergic to cats.

There is one other problem. I really like luxury! I just don't want to pay for it.

The rule I think is actually quite simple: get the best you can afford. Life is too short. But it's far too long when you are paying for the privilege of being too frightened to use your own bathroom or kitchen! It's not glamorous. It's not horrific. It's somewhere in between. Or rather it's both. When you have a family...well, sometimes it's torture. Then again, depending on your family sometimes it's bliss! Like I said, it's both.

Last note to landladies and landlords: Cleanliness is next to Godliness.

I am delighted with all the digs I have booked but have only seen one so far. (which is my all-time favourite digs ever! Thanks, Sue!) I notoriously always pick the worst worst worst digs so let's see if my rule works. Will let you know.

Til we meet, think no ill of me,

Andrew French

by Andrew French  |  No comments yet

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Teaching Shakespeare