Weird day today if I’m honest. My insecurities racked themselves up to the max and I’m still plagued as I write. I slept fitfully for just three and a half hours last night which likely didn’t help at all and still isn’t helping.
The start time for the show up here is being shifted earlier because sunset is getting earlier by the night and our last few outdoor scenes are conducted in near darkness already. I was asked by text to have an early meeting with production today. My imagination went wild. I thought maybe someone had complained about a bit of my improv – (I’m alone with the audience so if they’re asshats I’ve got no support and it’s their word against mine.) But no. It was a feasibility study. They wanted to see if it was possible for me to get to the show earlier than contracted from my rehearsal in London. They know that sunset is only going to get earlier as we go through the run.
I fucked the big bike for myself so I’m reliant on trains. The train is pretty quick, and I asked the guys on the next job if they could be flexible on timings and if we could start rehearsal earlier in Brixton even half an hour earlier. I was rebutted firmly by a close friend and collaborator who happens to be in the USA company with me. I can’t wait to tour with him. He’s a witty, gentle and kind individual. But he knows me well enough to “no” me and he did so categorically and immediately.
He’s worked for this glorious Oxford company a few times before too so he knows the score. I saw him do beautiful work as Shylock. I had auditioned for it. Often it’s hard when you went up for it, but I loved seeing him smash that role. We’ll never be in competition, he and I. We are so very different. We play well together in The Factory and he’s a friend. He needs to walk his dog. And the Piccadilly line is horrible for him before 9.
In another world he might have been in the cast with me here – he often works for the company. It would’ve been lovely to share the time-pressured journey from London to Oxford with him, and to get to the show on time from shared rehearsal while preparing together. But sadly he’s not doing it this year.
Being me I’ve factored in delay time to my original arrival calculation. I had a whole hour of spill. Reputation is important to me. I really don’t want the show held on my account.
I’ll still arrive in time, trusting that there are no delays, certainly for the first week of overlap where the show is only opening 15 minutes earlier. But the second week it’s a further 15 minutes earlier to start, which will be a bit too squeaky for my taste.
With early rehearsal start times nixed I’ll have to be leaving rehearsals before they’re finished for two weeks. “We will do scenes you aren’t in for an hour,” they say. But I know that for the scenes I’m not involved in, my presence is even more valuable as an outside eye. There’s no director. We have to ring the bell for each other on this job. And we will. It’ll be beautiful. But I want so much to be able to provide that outside eye and help everybody to be the best version of themselves. NMHRK.
I’m fortunate enough to have met all four of the other actors and I adore and respect all of them. But I want all the time I can get to come together and make it an honest fun piece of work to tour with.
I’m so privileged, working two jobs. How rare is that? That opportunity never comes up. I even have banter in the WhatsApp group for Twelfth Night taking the piss out of me about how lucky I am.
I love Creation up here in Oxford. I’m so happy in this summer show I’m doing. It’s a beautiful way to spend a season. This honest and deeply artistic company is led by a bunch of extraordinary women and It’s taken 8 years for them to get me back up here BUT THEY HAVE! Thank the Gods they’ve persisted. This is a fantastic job to be involved in. I feel so at home and happy in my work now that I’ve made it back.
This commute to Brixton and back will work fine because I’ll make it work despite everything. Nothing is ever simple but we can edge it towards simplicity by having the right head on it.
Here’s me and my “son”. Apple didn’t fall far…?