“Can we do that entrance again please. You look like you’re coming in for tea and scones. This is a street fight.”
I’m in tech, but Ewan the choreographer is still working, making sure people aren’t phoning their performances in or crashing into each other or kicking themselves in the head. The company is huge. It’s like marshalling an army of crabs. And everyone has to be able get on and off stage without breaking their ankles or each other’s faces or the expensive set. We have all just stepped into the theatre for the first time and it’s quite a change from the various studios we’ve grown accustomed to. The stage is a circle interrupted every foot by a vertical slat like the cogs of a gear which are little wooden accidents waiting to happen. Then there are ladders and kabuki drops and things flying in that can squish you. And stairs and slippy bits. And actors.
My first entrance is not through one of the slats, thankfully. I’m coming through the audience, so right now I’m sat at the back watching them all jump up and down, the happy bouncy beautiful bastards. As they sing and dance, various people focus and refocus and plot and tweak lights around them. Other people are gradually taking each of us aside in order to tape microphones to our foreheads. Right now the sound levels are wobbling all over the place. It’s strange having a mic, but it’s a necessity for a consistent soundscape. If they only amplify you for when you’re singing over the orchestra, then it’s a strange jolt for the audience when you shift into amplification. So we will all be on mic the whole time, and it’s about finding a level where the watchers don’t lose the connection between the speaker and their voice.
At least I get to wear my lovely trenchcoat. I doubt I’ll able to have it at the end though. These institutions have big wardrobe storage areas. Sad really… Most of my clothes are ex-costume. Including the leather jacket I’ve worn every day for the last month.
I’m settling in for a long night of watching people do the same thing over and over and over again. Today has been one of those days. I was called way too early by mistake, lumped in with all the singers, so I did shitloads of admin while they sang, and then Toby and I sat around eating cake. I was glad of the bike, as I got to zoom over to a local post office, send something registered, and get back before anyone missed me. But now it’s half past eight and I can pretty much guarantee that between now and 10pm I will neither go on stage nor say a word. But I’m here. And here I will remain. So I thought I may as well write this down. Ewan has started beatboxing into his mic so that everyone can mark their movements through the dance at the gym. It’s like Crazy Frog does Leonard Bernstein. I’ll look ace. But right now it’s happy carnage.