First night

First show done. I’m back home. Jack and I have spent the last couple of hours squabbling about absolutely nothing, as you’d perhaps understand from friends who have worked together for so long. It’s extraordinary in the true sense of the frame of theatre to be able to follow a friendship through so many different permutations and colours. At the start of this madness of a friendship, we worked together by chance. We were doing Shakespeare in Yorkshire. Hester and Liam were footing the bill with Sprite. I still miss it. We were Malvolio and Feste under the guidance of Lucy Kerbel. We could never have anticipated the years of collaboration that followed. The world kept throwing us together. It seemed inevitable. Now we work with each other on purpose when we can. We trust each other deeply. And we complement each other well – we are very different, but with similarities at heart.

I’m sitting here in a Bugs Bunny Onesie thinking about what worked and what didn’t, tonight. He’s worried that the cheap scran we bought might give us food poisoning. But I need to switch off fast after what we did tonight so I’ll wind down.

What did we do tonight? Well… Stuff.

We built Srooge’s Parlour into an old Carpet-Right in Sheffield. It’s a Theatre Deli space now, and it’s glorious.

We are so accommodated by the people who work at Deli, and tonight the bulk of the audience all stayed in the space to hang out with us.

Five years, I’ve done this. It’s hard to quantify. It would be easy to say it all blurs into one, but it doesn’t. I’m going to be out there, playing Scrooge. But what is that for me? It’s employment, sure. I’m bloody marvelous at it. But that’s because I understand the version of Scrooge’s journey that makes sense to me. We can all Scrooge ourselves. My understanding is of someone who just can’t do the social stuff. He can be totally brilliant with numbers and investments but if anyone wants to know his favourite anything, the question makes no sense unless someone can teach him how.

This run will be glorious. We have been able to build what we choose. We will move to York for the final week, and lose all of the detail we have built. We will shift into a space where we have to be so careful that we are waiting to hear whether we can fire the smoke at all. We have to work around oil paintings of ancient dead people. It’s touch and go about whether the status quo monitors think the deadies are important enough for them to stop our negligible ambient smoke to preserve their faceshrines. We will see. The space looks beautiful. We will make whatever we can.

But right now I’m done. Too late. Too much. Two shows tomorrow and it’s past 3… I must sleep.20181201_010941