This week I’m sleeping in a tiny little room with a skylight. Right now I’m lying on the bed with the door closed, listening to Kate Bush – The Kick Inside after reading this article about the fact it’s 40 years old. It’s still a remarkable album and was one of the first cassettes I had so it got a lot of play when I was a strange teenager.
This is the sort of thing I usually do after I’ve been in a room full of people – I sit in a room alone listening to weird music. If I’m at a party I go and shut myself in a loo for a few minutes occasionally – just to discreetly recharge. That’s if there’s nowhere I can wander off to alone that’s in nature. A loo will do, and no I’m not snorting coke in there. I’m recharging.
This room is the perfect recharge cubicle though. There’s just room for my bed and a little bit of floor. I can touch both walls with outstretched arms. I couldn’t swing Pickle in here, and nor would I try to. I like having skin.
I’ve plugged in to my music, a hot drink and this blog, curled up in a soft corner smiling. Even at home, Brian has the big room so I can have the recharge cubicle. I’m quite glad it’s worked out this way here, as there’s another actor already booked in the double sofabed downstairs.
West Side Story is great but it’s 50 people in a small room.
I’m part of an enthusiastic machine. And the orchestra isn’t even with us yet – they’re practicing in another studio. I’m pretty good at pretending to be an extrovert but these musical theatre kids are like radiators, half my age and endlessly happy in their superhero shirts and branded shorts and shoes. I’m all in black, bearded and slow, the yawning beast in the corner.
It was a good day. I went for lunch with the other old git in the cast because we were spared an early call. He helped me record a self tape – the first hit from my new agent and a good bit of casting for me. The sort of role I know I can do brilliantly, and that I haven’t usually been in for over the years. And for a show you’ve probably heard of. Fingers crossed – either way it’s a turn up for the books. Frankly, this one’s mine. I can smell it.
Then we ran the show. We still aren’t in the theatre. We’re in a studio. The walls are closing in. Still, everyone just committed to a run of the show and it’s still beautiful. What a piece of work. Bernstein and Sondheim. Two of the greats. And it’s been around for long enough for these songs to have sunk beneath our skin. “Gee officer krupke” “There’s a Place For Us” “Something’s Coming.” As a small kid, listening on my grandmother’s gramophone I asked her how you get to be a Jet. “When You’re a Jet” sounded so aspirational. All I got was a lecture about why gangs are bad and people die. And in retrospect I wouldn’t thrive in a gang unless I could occasionally lock myself in a cubicle for half an hour. Maybe that would be my gang name: Cubicle.