Back to “work”

I woke up this morning at Sara and Jack’s in Clissold Park, and we immediately broke out the laptop and got writing. Christmas Carol is back on, this year in Sheffield and York. Last year, after Christmas Carol, we had bizarrely had the foresight to transcribe the show such as it is now. We did it over beers, in a celebratory state of mind, and around the time we finished writing the long opening scene and got into the Spirit of Christmas Past we had abandoned it in favour of fun. Thankfully a large portion of the necessary script adaptations were in that section and we got them down fresh. The script we have always been working off has virtually no correlation with the words we have been speaking and is in a format that brooks no copy and pasting. We had to rewrite the whole thing with the words that work, which have been arrived at through trial and error over more than a decade – only four years with me though. And only three with Jack and I. Many years of trialling what works and what doesn’t through different brains under the constant guidance of the extraordinary Tom Bellerby.

If this show is to be outsourced – which it might have been this year if New York and London hadn’t fallen through – the actors that don’t know it backwards need to have a clear line through it. It’s good to have a text of sorts for this madness. Even if a lot of it is impossible to write down. Because this is a very odd show.

Our next question today was about whether or not we actually have enough stuff to run the show. A van went up north but we don’t know what went up with the van. We need a load of candleabras and we fear they’ve been scooped up by another show somewhere. Everything has been in a particular corner in a store, but the vultures have been in anyway. Without candles we can still do the show. It’ll just be a live radio play where the audience sit in the dark and imagine. We also need a desk. It didn’t go up I think but I can get it in the jag. We need various items of costume that might be lost or worn by other people in other shows. So I’m going to go up to Yorkshire a few days early to work out what we need and to start getting my head into troubleshooting the gaps. This show is a joy and I’d like it to be the best version of itself that it can be. There will always be compromises. But right now we’re aiming high.

It feels great though, to be dreaming with Jack again. To get this collaboration back online and to anticipate a month of fruitful creative partnership. But until we find a top hat that actually fits – ideally our one with the red paint on it – then there is shadow work that will be lost and world building that will be weakened.

Meantime, I’m hanging out with Claire.


We toured America something like four years ago. She’s a lovely friend. It’s sad to think I won’t really be in town to see all my friends before I sod off to Sheffield. After so long away this feels like a flying visit, with lots of work to do

Meantime, tomorrow I’ll be looking at marketing strategy for a show  we’re building at The Vaults. It feels like a fruitful time right now. Like the walk, all you have to do is break big things up into small portions and they become more manageable.

Anyway. A very worky blog today. But that’s where my head is sitting. It’s funny what this city and its prices do. You can’t be here for long before you start to think about how you’re going to tick over.

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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