Last commute

I had a momentary blackout in the middle of a scene in rehearsal about two hours ago. I had to ask the others if I’d fallen over. Apparently not. My question struck them as odd, which I suppose it must’ve been without the long context of inner struggle that it came from. “Guys, did I just fall over?” “Er..  are you ok?” “Yeah, yeah I’m good I just thought I might have fallen over … um … never mind.”

It’s an illustration of how horribly tired I’ve gone and made myself. My voice is in rags. I’ve been wearing the same T-Shirt for three days. Lines I’ve known for ages are falling out of my ears and getting lost behind chairs and in cobwebs. Right now I’m on the train praising the gods that I messed up my bike test and that I can just let Great Western Railway worry about how I’m getting up to Oxford for the very last Tempest instead of throwing on leathers, jumping on a hog and riding it into a tree.

I can do this. I’ve got a show in me. Ten scenes and the start and finish. One show, one day more of rehearsal before the weekend. Then time. Actual time. Time that is mine.

(I’ll likely spend half of the weekend brushing up on lines that have hitherto been neglected, but that’s as maybe.)

It was worth it for last night, having this deep strange unhelpful but peaceful exhaustion today. Even if my hangover meant that the Twelfth Night company had to rehearse with the fabulous talking fish-person.

Last night brought live music and fun, for ages in a great pub with delightful people. I even made new friends of old acquaintances. But the hand to mouth instinct was in full swing and boy oh boy…

The cab driver shocked me out of a deep sleep far too early. I remember nothing of my journey to Brixton. I stood in a taped square doing talking and I kept wondering if I was rehearsing or just having a strange dream about rehearsing. I think sometimes I spoke in extended sentences designed to be helpful to other actors – we direct each other. In retrospect I fear the content of my sentences was mostly stuff like “You’re playing Olivia. She has feet. Feet are useful for walking and stuff. Has anybody noticed the dappled light on the wall over there? So yeah, try that. Is that helpful. My name’s Al. Who are you playing again?”

I keep saying things out loud in the train carriage. I’ve done it frequently enough that I’m now aware that everybody around me is keeping a loose eye on me in case I suddenly rise up brandishing a machete. The most recent exclamation was “God help me.” I’m too tired to catch them before they come out. I’m too tired for much more than excreting these blogwords, taking all my clothes off and replacing them with costume, shouting at strangers in a tree for an hour or two, bowing, reversing the clothing trick and working out how to join the dots between the venue in Oxford and my pillow in London, accompanied by my laptop and accordion.


Lift sorted with Simon. Amazing. Now I just have to survive the show.

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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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