First night

“How do you prepare for a leading role, mister Barclay?”

“Well I’m glad you asked me that question Colinbert. I’m taking from a number of different schools of thought to create the perfect warm up. Funnily enough I had an opening night tonight, so I can talk you through it. First of all I get a bunch of keys. I prefer there to be hundreds of keys. And ideally I should have no indication of which key unlocks what.”

“Is that to do with how you like to embrace the unknown?”

“Yeah. Great. Whatever. I like your shirt by the way. But yeah. I then unlock lots of locks and padlocks and bolts. Like loads of them. Then I get a wazzer.”

“A wazzer?”

“An electric screwdriver. Where were you brought up – Chichester? Is that where you bought that shirt?”

“No my … well my girlfriend bought me that shirt. She … well she likes to … she cares about what I’m wearing. But yeah, so you get a wazzer…”

“Yeah. And I take down a load of unbelievably lethal shutters covered in sick, graffiti, death and plague. Then I carry them into a cold cold room and leave them against the walls.”

“Great. And vocal warm ups?”

“Ha ha ha. No. No time for that luxury. After the shutters I like to get myself covered in wax. Slathered in the stuff. Dripping in it. All over everything. I want to spend ages sticking candle-stubs to candles. It … uh … it helps me remember to shine bright like a candle. Yeah that’s it. Like a diamond. Candle. Candlediamond. Thing. Just edit that bit to make me sound more eloquent Colinbert. Anyway, once that’s all done it’s almost time to take my clothes off. The audience will be in shortly. I like to suddenly realise that they’re outside and that I’m still in my home clothes. Ideally by this point it should be freezing and I should have nowhere with light or warmth to change. I need to put on horrible shoes without socks, and a very flouncy nightie underneath a full tail coat.”

“Obviously. That’s very standard in theatre. I liked your cravat by the way. But then the show? How do you like the show to go?”

“The show? Oh. We smash the show. That’s a given.”

“Could you have anticipated the people who actively and aggressively didn’t give a fuck about theatre, and were only there to eat the food cooked by the television competition winner?”

“Oh Colinbert, not everyone is obsessed with theatre. But some people worry we think it’s all terribly serious and important and they feel left out before it even starts. They always get stuck in eventually. Natalie’s great, and we’ve never pitched to a theatre crowd. This show plays well to people who don’t think they like theatre.”

“Yes I felt that tonight. I was having a lovely time. But a lot of the audience were … well I think they may have had some alcohol. The two of you won them over though and held the room. Is that something that comes easily to you?”

“No, Colinbert. It’s not easy. It’s hard work. It’s an effort of will. I’m exhausted. But I’m also thrilled. Because we won beautifully. Who wants to play only to people who are going to love it no matter what? I’d sooner have to win a tough crowd like tonight than play to some of the people I overhear in theatre bars after shows, who would applaud a dead cat if the right actor was holding it.”

“You must have been pumped with adrenaline though. How did you wind down after the show?”

“After the show? After the show I got to put the shutters back. Then I had beer and wrote this blog, and now I’m a pillow for the cat.”

“I see. Fancy a pint?”

“I thought you’d never ask, Colinbert. What sort of a name is that anyway?”

“It’s a name that cannot be mistaken for the name of anyone real.”

“Ah I see. Here’s a photo. It’s arbitrary.”

“You always do that. You need to think more visually.”

“Go away.”



Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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