Everyone convinces themselves that it doesn’t matter and it’s just like any other show, but then throughout the day everyone is running around giving each other cards and gifts, and then you get a sort of team-talk from Simon [Director] which you’ve never had before, and then you notice quite a lot of (usually) middle-aged men writing stuff down during the show, and then after the show there’s a tab behind the bar and everyone is getting free drinks, and then there’s a party, and then the next day everyone is a bit more relaxed, and a bit bleary-eyed.
We had ours last week and it went something like this. Sometimes I really like them, because it’s the moment when you decide to healthily forget everything you’ve been told and have been worrying about, and take the show into your own hands. There’s a sense of abandon and minor rebellion and, as we take ownership, the play sings the loudest it has thus far. Other times it’s a disgusting hell in which you endow the audience with godlike judgement and feel like they can see every crack and discrepancy in your performance. You leave the stage with a cold sweat and vow never to put yourself through this torment again.
Last week was somewhere between the two. But I think it went okay.
The Other Place had been turned into a great big Christmas factory for the RSC’s Christmas party so we all went along there afterwards for merriment and sore head-making. Ed wore a kilt. I found myself in conversation with Michael Bruce, our amazing composer (by the way, if you’re coming to the show you have to turn up ten minutes early to hear some thumping great Greek bangers). He’s off to New York next to mount his musical that’s being directed by multiple Tony award winner Scott Ellis at the Public Theater - crazy. Soutra our designer was nowhere to be seen because she was busy in tech for the Pinter at the Pinter in London. And I think the day after press night Simon was off to Washington to start figuring out his first season for the theatre he’s going to start running over there next year. So high flyers then.
It’s a massive shame to be losing these amazing creatives. They’re a huge part of the process. And we definitely always take them for granted. But they have to go for us children to take over and make it our own. I think if film is the director’s (and editor’s) medium, theatre is the actor’s. We’re in charge of the game, the rules of which have been set out by Simon, and of course Willy Shakespeare. A lot of the fun begins now.