Contact lens malfunction

I just bought a toy accordion online against the possibility of bringing it to America. It has one octave and who knows how many or how few stops. It’ll arrive at rehearsal tomorrow lunchtime. I’ll know almost immediately if it’s viable. Right now Kaffe is making all the music, so we are experimenting with Valentine being vaguely musical himself – as vaguely musical as the actual actor playing Valentine is in reality. It’s one of my parts. Run for the hills.

If it’s any use at all, I’d be glad to have a miniature squeezebox to upskill myself while touring and to bring more music into our show. If it’s no use at all then we will find another solution and it was only about £25. We are in that very fertile period of rehearsal where all ideas are considered and examined, and as a company the five of us are currently invested in shoehorning as much joy and as many gags as possible into the telling. We might strip back later. But it’s fun right now to see what we can get away with. Similarly we are making absolutely no cuts so we can offer the client an uncut version. If the last tour is anything to go by we might need to go at it heavily with scissors at the last minute to keep the run time down, but if we include everything then we’ll know intimately what works and what doesn’t by the time the scissors have to come out – if they do. That’s the theory at least. It all heads towards giving us a deeper knowledge of this beautiful play, so we can sound authoritative in post show Q and A sessions with academics, and unlock the depth of meaning.


On which thought I arrived and hit the dressing room for The Tempest with these brilliant reprobates.

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Dammit, I’ll miss them when it’s done. Every single one of them. We get changed in a little room to the side of the conference hall with this little mirror for detail. Until last week we had to evacuate all our costume etc on a nightly basis – a job that fell to the three of us who have the least tech. Now thank God we can leave stuff in the room overnight. We don’t have to wait for the audience to be gone from the space before we take out the costume rails.

Although the audience knows we are actors… The idiom for this show allows for a huge amount of play in that world.

I had a contact lens fold itself around in my eye during a scene today. I had to take it out immediately before it went round the back of my eye into sickypanicland. It was my third scene of ten. No way I was going to be an hour with a lens in my brain. I got it out of my face immediately.

The timing was atrocious. I was holding a filthy muddy stick that had just been pulled from the water. I simultaneously cried hard and blinked as I realised it was my son’s disintegrated case, and I felt it fold on itself. I dropped the stick, wiped my hands, licked my finger and took it out. I covered with some form of extended improv about how I needed to be vain and not have glasses as the king but that after the shipwreck I’d lost my servants. I popped out my lens to the end of my licked finger. Then all the “strange fish” text had me blind and enchanted, with all the audience very aware of the lens on the end of my finger. There were so many metaphors about perception and clarity of thought to clarity of sight. I even found myself bastardising Lear on that theme – “see better Alonso”. One for the scholars there. I managed to get the fucker back in while they watched me, and used it as the reason not to seek my son in the river deeper then ever plummet sounded and with him there lie mudded. “You shouldn’t swim with lenses.”

I got that mucky fucker out ASAP after the show… I think I’ve avoided amoeba attack.

On a human level, them knowing that the man who had been handling the muddy stick just put fuck knows what into his own eye in the name of art… ick. I didn’t want them to be worried. But I wasn’t going to lose the lens. They’re monthly disposables. Dailies have always seemed too wasteful to me. But maybe they make more sense for the acting if I’ll be doing the cry cry face collapse shit.

Or maybe I just need to save up for lasers.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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