I only managed two hours sleep last night, on a sofa. I crashed to sleep when I started to notice my driving judgement was blurring. Better than the other crash option.
On the M25 yesterday I drove past an articulated lorry that was stationary in the middle lane. Despite being huge it had a low dent in it big enough to fit a quarter of a car. The impact had shattered the windscreen. The driver of this behemoth of a vehicle must have gone into the back of a queue of traffic. You must need quite a hit to shatter and puncture the windscreen on something that big. What was the driver doing? Hopefully not texting. I hope they didn’t kill anyone. It was an upsetting sight, not to mention the time it cost us.
As an experienced driver in control of a larger vehicle than usual, I called it last night as soon as I noticed I was knackered.
Technically I got four hours sleep but there’s a cat in the home I slept in that likes to lie on my face. She was either breathing into my mouth or trying to lick the skin off my arm all night. I was too tired and kind to hurl her across the room. So I got back in the van without decent rest but with a nuclear coffee from Tanya, which did the trick as I knew I could focus for the final 40 minutes. I got the van back in time to prevent a late return fee.
This beautiful summer morning prompted a walk down the Camden tow path after drop off.
I had time and inclination for breakfast with a dear friend in at Greenberry in Primrose Hill – highly recommended, particularly the vegetarian breakfast.
But the lack of sleep stacked up and I had to suddenly cut off.
I had a costume fitting and rehearsal in my flat this afternoon THAT I HAD ARRANGED and then a last minute gig this evening. I got home at 12:30, slept a desperate hour, and let a load of actors into The Antiques Roadshow whilst still feeling a long way off human.
We tried to remember very hard things to learn in the same room as one another, but thankfully I’ve got them hard wired. This was for Dan, who will likely be wearing my hat while I’m in Oxford and America.
That done I barely had time to wash, to drag some boxes out of Brian’s room, throw on a three piece and rush back out towards Edgware Road to do a show. Argh.
The Factory again. My happy place. Hardworking open hearted deeply skilled humans making theatre because it’s hard to do well. There was a Macbeth at The Cockpit Theatre. We were short-handed. I didn’t want to be free, but they put a call out. I love doing difficult things, so I threw myself in and ended up playing Banquo, Lady Macduff’s son and Menteith, which was a strange relief as I’ve done them all before.
We experimented with getting props from the audience to differentiate characters as we always work without costume. We may never do that game again but we were very short handed so it made sense and it was interesting. “Go to one person. Get three things. Use them in the order you get them.” I went to Mohammed. I was sent there by his mates, who were a solid bunch of lads. We were the only people in a three piece suit in the building, Mohammed and I. He and his mates were were there to have a good time in an unfamiliar context. My fave audients.
He gave me a fucked brolly first. Then a packet of cigarettes with a “Buy your own fucking lighter” lighter in it. Then a tiny tie pin in the shape of a sword.
So Banquo had a brolly and I thought I’d just use it and let it resolve. Foul and fair allows a brolly, a lot of the time Banquo was clearly just paranoid about rain, but umbrella indoors made for an unusually twitchy Banquo. It was only just as I was murdered that I noticed by speaking it that his penultimate line is “It will be rain tonight.” Old learn. I am glad I forgot. It surprised me and vindicated my persistence with a tricky prop.
Macduff’s little boy had cigarettes. “Your father’s dead,” says his mother. “And what will you do now? How will you live?” My mother, in the form of Jonno, gave the child his first cigarette. I remembered my mum doing that to me when I showed interest. Didn’t work for me but I clocked there was an agenda. I hated it but I somehow knew I was supposed to. I smoked for as good ten years. Now I hate the things again. Rebellion, eh?
Oh yeah and Menteith, who your aunt would describe to her friends as a “spear carrier” if you were doing it at the RSC. Mohammed had, perfectly, a tiny tiny sword which I didn’t ask for but he gave me. Nobody really knew about it but me as it was miniscule but it pleased me as the “spear carrier” to wield it.
I returned the stuff to Mohammed at the end of the show saying “Your stuff was brilliant, considering you had no idea. It gave so much. Thanks man. Perfect.” “You’d have been brilliant with anything.” He says, with concrete honesty. I literally wept a splash with pride when he wasn’t looking as I didn’t expect him to get us. And sometimes when you’re tired you can crash the juggernaut with a moment of bad focus. Good that it didn’t happen tonight.
What a lovely thing to have in my life, this group of very unusual hardworking makers. Long may The Factory continue to roll the stone.
We only usually announce shows three days in advance. There’s no guarantee anyone will be involved – there are many of us who play. This link sometimes has shows. And if you ask me I’ll usually know if I’ll be playing them. But I’m about to get busy…