Today opened with a spot of acting – of sorts. An ongoing immersive puzzle game made by friends of mine. I have to be a slightly mardy golfer and talk to people, give them clues and so on, get them to play some miniature golf. It pays nicely for the time and it’s always a pleasant day. But today the weather wasn’t on my side. By the time my two hours were over I was freezing, despite the cherry blossom that is still bedecking so much of our city in this blessing of a season. The wind was Baltic.
It’s not unpleasant, doing treasurehunty jobs like this, even in the cold. It’s all grist to the immersive skillmill. Sometimes I see friends of mine running “Immersive Theatre Skill Workshops” for money, and I wonder how I’d teach it if I chose to. One way would be to give them something they need to charm people into doing, and maybe a bit of intention, and then to send them into Leicester Square or somewhere busy where people are used to blocking interaction. When I switch on Radio 4 I can almost always tell within moments whether it’s a play or a documentary, just by how people frame their words. When an immersive actor speaks to me with eyes looking inward as they recite learnt material with an expectation of how I will react, I switch off a little. I enjoy the bits in between the audience when drunk lads or cops or bored wanderers or families take a moment to wonder why someone dressed in all the golfing kit is standing on a tiny patch of grass outside Haberdasher’s Hall playing mini golf with absolute sincerity in the freezing cold and leave thinking they’ve met a charming eccentric.
I can always spot the players by how they approach me. And they’re always lovely. Of course they are – they’ve paid money to go on a story puzzle treasure hunt thing on their day off. They’re allies to me for sure, in that they are the people that like to consume the sort of bonkers stuff I like to produce, getting down off the pedestal and communicating and having fun in the world.
Then I went home, where I’ve been consuming something beautifully structured and organised and poised. Season 7 of Game of Thrones – again – so I can remember what’s going on when it all kicks off again tomorrow. I’ve seen it before so I’ve been distracting myself by cleaning porcelain and now by writing this. Turns out some of these mugs I’ve ended up with aren’t permanently damaged by smoke. They’re just stained. White wine vinegar and a toothbrush works wonders. And for more recent pieces, the dishwasher is a risk I’m willing to take. I might be able to do the same with the busts, but I still have a feeling they’ll come in handy for theatre, and most of them are plaster of Paris so cleaning them to sell is work intensive for the value but might happen to some of them if it’s possible.
I’m turning into some sort of antiques dealer. Someone had better give me a formal acting job soon…