The End of the Road or Euston Station Blues

Whisper #81

So I have a couple of hours to kill at Euston station. I have just arrived here from Heathrow and the final flight that brought us home from Washington DC. It’s 10am in Euston but 5am in Washington. I should be sleeping. And haven’t. Not a wink on the plane. We arrived in London just when I should have been going to bed in America. My body doesn't believe that we are on holiday. It’s still in show mode and that means getting to bed late every night.

Cannot quite believe too that the tour is over. We now just have a short run in Stratford for three weeks and then for the first time in three years the great unknown called UNEMPLOYMENT beckons. I am not quite sure how I feel about that right now. I am looking forward to the 10 day break we have. We all need it being on the road since 2 January. In the last nine months I haven't been at home for longer than three weeks. I am longing to be home yet worried about stopping this incredible adventure. Such is an actor's life.

I am bone-tired. So many people claim to not understand why we get so tired when we only work two or three hours a night. But imagine doing a special presentation for your work night after night without fail. Not just the once before the conference or management but every night for months. And every night you have to try and give what you gave the night before. Performance requires a different use of your energy and that’s what can be so draining.

I think of how special certain people become to you when you work with them under such intense circumstances. Soon this will end: we will not be working together and this time will not come again. Not in this configuration. This is a sad thought. Maybe I am overtired. But I am looking forward to having a break away. Going to sit in a yurt in a field near the Lake District and just disappear from the world for a bit.

 

New York skyline with blue sky
The New York skyline
Photo by Byron Mondahl © RSC Browse and license our images

CONTINUED IN STRATFORD UPON AVON 23 May 2018…

These last few days of tech for Lear in Stratford feels like we are ready for this final push. It’s going to be good to end our run where it all began in 2016. We have experienced so many different stages and it feels good to be back in the space that the show was made for.

We are running the show exactly like we had it in New York. There are some changes that we had to make for the stage in BAM and we have transported them back here. BAM had no substage so we had to work a new version of the storm scene in which Tony and Graham stand on top of the glass box and move forward on rails towards the audience. When we first did it in Stratford there was a lift that lifted them up into the air. Keeping what we had in BAM makes sense for our short final run.

Great to see old faces and friends too; from dressers and wardrobe to stage crew and front of house staff. We are very lucky to have many of the original crew and backstage staff with us to make this transition back to Stratford easier. Many people have been walking around in tech trying to remember their old tracks from two years ago. The tech has gone smoothly and we are ready to open tonight.

We have had such incredible feedback from audience members from our tour and especially for the BSL performances that we did with Becky. One audience member remarked, “The integration of the signer into the performance was so smooth and impressive. Your signer deserved the cheers we all gave her in the end.” And another said about Becky and the cast, “…her integration was masterful. Her intent listening to the events unfolding around her and her sympathetic reactions to what [the characters] were going through were another factor drawing me into the play. It was lovely to see certain of the characters subtly interacting with her.” This really does prove that we are achieving what the RSC wanted to achieve with her integration into the play.

Continued on Wednesday 13 June...

And so my stint with the RSC this year is over. Hopefully there will be more but you can never rely on that. Unemployment feels weird and uncomfortable right now. I am restless, yet exhausted from solid touring since January. I am grateful for the rest but scared that I will never work again - which is a common fear amongst actors. But this is also time to take stock, focus on things that I want to achieve and also just breathe.

I must just remember to breathe.

Byron Mondahl

Byron Mondahl

Byron Mondahl is an actor who enjoys thinking about and writing about the elusive art of acting. He is from South Africa where he first began acting but has lived in the UK since 2005 when he studied at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He has taught English in Taiwan, and also lost six stone and transformed his life for the better. Follow him on Twitter @ByronMondahl

Read Byron's biog

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