December 7, 2012
There's a silence in the crisp cool air today. My usual walk to work along the Avon is almost unrecognizable. That flowing water; the source of so much inspiration and comfort for us actors has given too much.
In acting terms, 'she's peaked' and now she's flooded. No more pretty riverside walks under swaying branches. No more green green grass alongside shiny silver water. Now all just water water everywhere.
It's eerily beautiful. Nature, awake and pushing back once more. I stare in shock and wonder at the new lake outside the theatre, enjoying the see-sawing of feelings inside my gut. That tiny feeling in the pit of your stomach that delights in hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters. Never felt that before? You have. It went unnoticed but you've felt it. I suppose it's my job to spot those weird feelings and record them. There's nothing like being reminded who the boss is to make you feel truly human.
Press night is upon us. We've pushed our minds and bodies to the limit and are now full to the brim with ideas and notes, which threaten to bleed into one another to form a mush we'll never be able to unpick. Thoughts about thoughts and ideas about the ideas, all precariously balanced on the edge and threatening to spill over into chaos.
We say our lines. 'Did I just say that line differently?' 'Wait. Was that today or yesterday that I said it that way?' 'Don't you feel your spirit's flying on great wings?' 'Don't you feel? Your spirit's flying on great wings!' 'Don't! You feel your spirit's flying on great wings?!' 'Don't feel your spirit's flying? ... ON GREAT WINGS!' On and on and on it goes.
Of course, the beauty of this job is that we could very easily carry on making changes. It doesn't actually have to end. But life is about making choices and choices suck. It's now time to stop and 'lock it down'.
Some directors continue to make changes long after press night. I've always recognized that as a need for control … an insecurity. Michael Boyd couldn't be more different. He has a very sharp instinct, the kind you can trust. He also has a lot of love for his actors which manifests itself in a confidence in our abilities - he trusts us.
The result is a show that has the freedom to evolve over the course of the season. It's a beautiful thing.
He is also deceptively laid back. Underneath his calm and gentle exterior lies a momentum of steel. It moves forward and it never ever stops. It carries you if it has to but it never stops moving forward. He's a truly great man and a genius of the theatre. A man who makes you feel loved and cared for. A director who elicits great trust and a tiny, almost imperceptible feeling in the pit of your stomach.
by Youssef Kerkour
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