I’m in an old library in Burgess Park. We drove behind this young lady to get in. This was the stage space. It’s pretty much the only photo I took today.
The heat has eased a little with the rain. It’s the interval. One of the actresses is on her phone, catching up on her email while there’s time. She’s just out of drama school. “I’ve just had two rejections for parts I wanted” she says. We do the traditional long form swearing together. “Fuck fuckety fuck fuck”. “Does it get easier over time?” she asks the old lag. “Ha. No. Not really. But it’s what we signed up for. And there’s joy here.” She’s sad though. Shocked. She’s fresh out of drama school. The skin takes a while to thicken. She sits with it.
Five minutes later she’s playing guitar and singing, with a huge smile on her face, to the smallest house we’ve had yet. And she’s still smiling like she means it, because she does mean it. And I’m smiling with her, for her, and for the show. It’s the last show in the run. The last in this fellowship. The show might play again but it’s unlikely it’ll be the same configuration of players. They’re all giving it a celebration kick despite a small last house, playing for the material and each other, and taking care of the audience. It’s a show about Beatrix Potter, performed on her birthday anniversary today, with two men and two women. It’s musical, weird, silly and fun. It’s mostly for kids. Actors play well to kids because we’ve got ADHD in common. And it’s a lovely piece.
Knowing the voyage that the props have been on, it’s a joy to note that every single one of them is used. They aren’t just generic dressing. The van was worth it, to let them have the ease they have. It’s enough to be playing multiple instruments and characters outdoors in the wind and the potential rainstorms. At least they knew their props and didn’t discover too late that the trunk opens the wrong way or the bell doesn’t ring etc.
It’s almost 2 and I’m still up writing here in Easingwold while an old friend sleeps in my bed in London. I have a full-on day again driving around London tomorrow despite a massive cycle event that will inevitably cause me no end of hassle. And then I’ll sleep here tomorrow night. I reckon it’s a minimum twelve hours non stop driving.
We just raised a glass to a man who died yesterday, who set up a fantastic theatre in the north. My host knew him well, and used to cast his shows. I never met him, and would have liked to. He made lovely clear work, gained huge respect for his theatre and helped many of my friends at the start of their careers. It was pleasant to raise a glass to his memory. Even if I never directly benefited from his existence, and indeed sought to work with him to no avail, I still derived entertainment in his theatre, and he helped my friends. RIP Braham Murray. And for the rest of us, onwards!