Early finish tonight, and home. They’re doing electrics in the space, which is beyond my remit. I’m better off having sausage and mash, changing my sheets, tidying my room and getting in the bath.
It’s amazing to think about the amount of work that’s going into this project. Brian and Louie started with an abandoned warehouse, a show that they knew worked well, and people. The last few days have been us all working out how to make the rest fit together. We’ve built from absolutely nothing into a space that is really starting to feel great now, but it’s been a sheer act of will. It started as a huge empty cavernous freezing warehouse. Now it’s Scrooge’s Parlour.
There’s such a huge amount that needs to be thought of to make something like this happen properly. Fire precautions and drills, sightlines, light, toilets, clearing plates, bins, plumbing, missing bits of costume, volume, sound effects, tricks, light effects, carpentry, who takes the tickets, bar stock, bar staff, heat, electricity load, getting the food out on time, candles, smoke, tablecloths, laundry, holly, audience journey, food quality, books, set dressing, food quantity and much more. Endless stuff. And that’s before you get started on the acting : lines, beats, pace, intentions, tactics, coining it, listening, responding, physical and mental acuity, accuracy, simplicity, bravery, journey, life, truth. And then the marketing, pricing, inviting, press, PR, websites, social media, images, press release, credits. Aaargh. I have to write a 500 word piece for a theatre mag about the process. I write 500 words every day minimum now without blinking. But I haven’t done it yet because I’ve been mostly working through a list of things that are important for my show, and writing about it for wider public consumption isn’t up there. Probably due to my instinctive distaste for doing things that will help me. I haven’t been inviting industry people who could put me in the way of work. I’ll inevitably leave that until too late as always.
The thing is though, we know this show works. It’s a delight both to do and to encounter. I wouldn’t keep coming back if not, nor would the producers be putting themselves through this tough week for it. We will be making Christmas for ourselves and for loads of other people. It’s going to be brilliant fun, it’s going to bring people together, it’s going to be delightful. All this work in the dark and the cold is going to a good cause. We are taking a warehouse that sits empty all year haunted by security guards and murdered prostitutes, and we are making it into a hub of community, the heart of a story, and a place to laugh, play, eat and sing songs.
One of the things I’ve got to write about for this article is “the enduring appeal of the story.” To me it’s about the fact that we can utterly transform, no matter how lost we might think we are. Scrooge starts cold and empty like the warehouse did. Every early description of him is about the cold: “The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.” In a short space of time, and after a journey, he is redeemed. He is warm again, full of joy and life and hope.
This freezing warehouse is virtually unused most of the time. We are the spirits, coming in and warming it – cramming it with light and food and happiness and warmth and redemption.
It’s a lot of work. But it’ll be worth it and we’ve got the team. I’m so thrilled to be back again and staring down this month of unadulterated loveliness. Bring it.
Here’s the link to tickets. Feel free to share it, and book in large numbers, and come celebrate this glorious show with us!!! Aaargh merry Christmas. Now I should think about writing this bloody article where I can’t swear.