I’m in my top hat, heading home from the press launch of Christmas Carol. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Certainly in Broadgate, where they’ve built a Winter Forest out of Christmas trees and lights and bars and wood and those Christmas-yurts that we remember so well from our childhood. No reindeer though. In keeping with the times, they inform us with notes in the trees that for every tree used they are planting two. They also tell us how they’re using the woodchips once the the season is out – (they’re off to Whipsnade apparently). It’s very sustainably Christmassy. Although it all still feels a little early, to be honest.
I was on duty/not on duty this evening, essentially with no brief but the need to be present – be Scrooge at the press launch. The show is a two hander and Jack’s in Malaga. I solved it by giving out flyers in the guise of a concerned Ebenezer who has discovered that some dreadful vaudevillian is pantomiming him nearby, and that they need to burn out this charlatan- (pictured but not named) – and set the dogs on him. It mostly involved messing around in loose character based on who I was talking to, looking for ways to make them laugh, humbugging, freezing my tits off and wishing I was in Malaga. I had already established that I wouldn’t be prancing around in my nightie in this cold, but also that moment when I’m running around in my smalls is earned. I always run the risk of getting knifed or arrested, and without the context of a show it didn’t feel right. So it was unreformed Scrooge prancing around tonight, humbugging for warmth but still freezing.
The Winter Forest is at the back of Liverpool Street station, just by Broadgate Circus. It’s right in the heart of the City and it’s lovely. When I was at Guildhall we would walk around that area and it was a ghost town on the weekends. All these vast buildings with the lights on and nobody home. Empty desk after empty desk and then – just occasionally – one human in an empty office in some minor bank that you could spot through a window, lost amongst the desks, desperately trying to solve whatever problem they’d built before the endless microtasks and work-proofing kicks off again in the week.
I wonder how the Winter Forest will do on the weekends. We’ll bring some footfall. But not enough to fully fill that place with life. Maybe it’ll be just that one dissolutioned weekend worker who came in on a Saturday, commiserating with themself after rogue-trading another business into the dust, trying to decide if it’s worth popping down to the nearest bridge. Maybe the Christmas Carol audience will descend and be full of life and joy – as how can they be not? Maybe the trader will get swept up in their Christmas cheer and forget the fact that they contributed to ruining the economy by failing to understand the difference between a game and reality. Maybe. Or something. I don’t know. The power of stories etc. I keep doing this nonsense hoping people will be a little nicer in my wake.
I’ll be able to share a ticket link soon, to encourage my friends to come and play. I was going to do it now but they’re still getting all the stuff up and finalising their copy. Currently there’s still nothing online that mentions either Jack or I by name, so it’s pointless sharing. I’ll link you once that’s all fixed and we’re credited, so you can be secure it’s the right show, and I can be secure the reviewers actually know how to find out the cast.