We finished rehearsal at 1pm and decanted straight to The Punter, waiting for lovely Simon who was driving home to Lewisham after doing some carpentry. He’s playing Prospero and also building bits of the set. They cast their actors wisely at Creation. I was thrilled. He told me his route, and he was going right past my front door. He picked three half-cut actors up from the lunchtime pub, and he ferried us all home for the weekend. Right to my doorstep. Amazing.
I walked into my flat but I’d missed Brian. Pickle was there so we had a moment. I’ve been gone for less than a week but it feels so much longer. The Tempest company – I can’t fully comprehend that I’ve known them for only six days. We’ve bonded. Next week is going to be epic. But a little bit of away time is good, to recharge. I dropped my stuff off, turned around and went straight back out again. There’s always something on in London and I wanted to catch Scene and Heard while I was down. It’s their first course – playmaking 1. I’ve blogged about them before but they’re a charity working with kids from the Somerstown estate in Mornington Crescent. They’ve been doing it brilliantly for twenty years. The kids write plays.
This evening was as rich as it always is. It’s one of the best nights at the theatre in London. I watched Steve, the English Channel as he learnt life lessons from a lettuce. A robin met some sushi. A sarcosuchus helped the spirit of a dead Kukui tree to find peace. A panda was fed poisoned ice cream by liquid nitrogen. A balloon pump and a horse were definitely just friends and sang a song about it to make sure. An ancient shield teamed up with all four members of a very successful modern rock band, played by a single actress. We had diamonds and a Kraken and the rarest quail in the world and a bike with the soul of Albert Einstein.
Everything is done by volunteers. The costumes are incredible. The props as well. It’s all custom made for that particular show. The Kraken had a police badge hidden inside its tentacles. The diamond was so glittery. The English Channel was really detailed, with lighthouses and landmarks and a white cliffs of Dover hat. And all the performances were committed, specific and spot on.
It’s always packed in the theatre, with a party atmosphere. A lovely thing to come back to London to, these complicated yet innocent stories told verbatim by ten year olds with extremely difficult circumstances, through the skills and attack of so many adults. Not least the people who work full time, the makers and the technical crew, the composers, the dramaturgs, the directors… I tried dramaturging once but you have to have a predictable existence to be consistent for the kids, as you see them every week for a few months. I can’t do that predictable thing, much as I’d love to. I rarely know where I’ll be in a month. I was sad to leave for a job when I left though, as the kids are ace.