I think I need to have an early bed. All this excitement is a little too much for me and I’m not accustomed to eating as little as I have recently. I read 10 plays today for the writers. Thankfully they weren’t full length. The only directorial note we got was “Be strong and wrong.” No time for more than that. Sightreading with a room full of strangers to a room full of strangers, and a licence to play. My first part was God. Then there was a selection of dads and doctors, the captain of the titanic, a weird homeless guy who makes friends with a child, and Tweedledum. Then I walked home and met up with an old friend.
Anne-May is connected to a fellowship of actors that I work with from time to time in Amsterdam. A few years ago I was asked a number of times to go to Amsterdam and do little bits of corporate theatre for Sol lager -(it’s owned by Heineken). They wanted to rebrand, and as far as I understand they needed hispanic looking people to say “Espiritu Libre” and have beards. I wasn’t going to complain, considering the amount of party that was happening around us. These branding events are essentially an excuse for everyone who works on the product to get pants down sloshed and run around in beautiful places. I ran with the wolves for a while. I apparently signed my name to a poster that said “We are the 1%”, as there was a photo on my phone the next day. I went home with a lovely leather jacket and a stain.
Since I was in Amsterdam anyway it made sense to make some theatre outside the corporate world. I had to work in the evenings so the traditional Amsterdam pursuits were out. An opportunity to make theatre presented itself. There’s a company out there that does Shakespeare in english. They work on similar principles to the old Factory Hamlet game over here – the actors learn multiple parts, and the exact casting is determined by a game of chance played a minute before the show starts. They call themselves “The Dutch Factory.” (For those of you wondering what The Factory is I’ll inevitably dedicate a blog to them before long. Right now it’s easter sabbatical. But here is the website. They’ve been a big part of my life for years now.)
The Dutch Factory heard I was coming over, and I got an email asking me which parts I knew in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Two days after listing the ones I thought I could get away with, I was playing Oberon on my Sunday off on a mosquito infested lighthouse island in Ijmuiden. I can’t really remember how it played out. You just have to lock into your partner and let the text work, and solve any problems in the moment. I occasionally look back and think “What the fuck happened that day?” It was very very hot. I know I carried a small dutch boy around for a while, as he volunteered himself as the changeling. I know I sang a song on a moving boat and everyone hummed along. There was a crocodile. I had pair of binoculars. I made someone eat a clove of garlic. I lost some blood to flying monsters. I did a lot of running. And I made some friends. One of those friends was Anne-May, who played Puck. We were constantly surprising and challenging each other when the mosquitos weren’t trying to kill us. Also she was a little more familiar with the play and helped me out all the times I said “Ok that’s done, what the fuck is my next scene?” We stayed in touch.
Sometimes these one day jobs lead to friendships. The fellowship of actors, which I touched upon yesterday, is wide but focused. When you find a kindred spirit, the gods find ways to make sure you keep in each other’s lives. She’s working in Westminster on Shakespeare within the Abbey soon so she’s staying on my sofa for a few nights. She has already fed me, and It’s half past ten, and I think I’m going to pass out if I stay up any longer. here’s the only photo I took today. It’s Anne-May at Westminster Cathedral. Spot the actor.
I’m knackered. zzzzzz