Whispers from the Wings

The last post

November 7, 2013

This, the final post for my Titus Andronicus and A Mad World My Masters blog is long, long overdue. These shows finished almost two weeks ago. That being the case, is anybody even going to bother to read this? Can anybody even remember what the heck these shows were about? Why am I still banging on about all this now? Who is 'Ben Deery', anyway? That's show business for you…

I've been promising to write and submit this since the last week of October. Almost every day I've emailed Tamsin, who's currently running these blogs, saying something like, 'I'll get it to you after the weekend,' , or, 'It'll be with you by Friday,', or, 'Yep, definitely tonight, seriously.' Yet I consistently fail. I just can't work out where to start. I don't know how to write it.

And then, finally, as I sat down to begin what I feared would be yet another thwarted attempt to hammer it out, I realised what was going on. I don't know how to write it, because I don't want to write it. Because writing it feels like saying goodbye.

At the risk of this turning into the kind of effusive display of luvvy-ness that Richard Durden would drolly identify as a reason why he 'doesn't like actors', I find it completely beyond my powers of expression to tell you how much I've loved working on this Swan season.

The directors, the producers, the stage managers, the crew, the musicians, the voice department, the wardrobe department, wigs and make-up, everybody in the RSC offices at Chapel Lane... everybody has been… what? 'An absolute pleasure to work with?' Again, the phrase is insufficient, but it will have to do.

But the words simply don't come at all when I contemplate the company of actors with whom I was lucky enough to share the warm, intimate embrace of that stage. Urgggh. Even as I write that, I know some of you will be retching.

However, I can't help but think that to find a group of people like that is quite special. Fair enough, acting isn't, say, going down a mine, but it does have its attendant difficulties and pitfalls.

But for eight glorious months over the course of this year, none of us had to face those difficulties or pitfalls alone. Everybody seemed to be pulling in the same direction. Everybody worked hard. Everybody appreciated each other's work. Everybody got on with each other. For a cast of that size to feel like a family is quite something.

We were proud of the company.

Add to that the private personal highlights and various pinch-me-now moments (working with Cicely Berry, meeting James Shapiro, going on as Saturninus… there are too many to list), and you have a very special summer indeed. I'm sad that it's over, but I delight in it having happened.

So there we go. The words you have just read are tardy and inadequate, and for that I can only apologise. But as Shakespeare himself recognised, strong feelings are sometimes difficult to express. Othello is similarly stumped when reunited with Desdemona on the coast of Cyprus; 'I cannot speak enough of this content; / It stops me here; it is too much of joy'.

Then again, he did at least manage that. And that's pretty good.

by Ben Deery  |  No comments yet

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