It’s amazing having my evenings back. Yesterday I met up with Tom, who has directed Christmas Carol every year. It looks likely it’ll pop up again. Three jobs back to back? Don’t mind if I do. Today I’m just hanging out in the evening sun as it sets after Twelfth Night rehearsal. It’s been a perfect late summer day today in London, the warm air moving, the sky clear.
Most of the day we have been in our excellent vast rehearsal room in Brixton. We are doing it all. Actors, directors, stage management, lighting, music. All but producing, although it’ll be part of my job to give us a good face with local papers as we move around. Kaffe has to write the blog. We all have duties. Jonno is Travel monitor. Katherine is Tech. But we will all help one another.
You might ask why I’m not on blog. Well, I can’t do two blogs at the same time. And by can’t I mean won’t. I’d do nothing but write. And I reserve the right to rant here, or obsess about something tiny, or try an idea. But anyway, Kaffe has got it sewn up.
We are at that difficult stage in the process where our minds are halfway in a remembering place and halfway in the moment. “What did we decide was happening in that moment? Should I be ready to switch character? What’s the staging? What’s my objective here? Have I got my lines right? Where is my signifier for the next character I’m shifting into? Fuck I missed it.” It’s difficult, this thing that we are doing. But that’s the point, and therein lies the joy. In the end I always prefer things to be difficult. Better to have a challenge and overcome it. That’s part of what this game’s about.
Patrick Stewart and Peter Holland helped make this wonderful company over fifty years ago now as far as I understand. The game is clear. We tell a Shakespeare play as clearly as we can with just five actors. The show has to fit in a single suitcase. We do it in a different city every week, hosted by an institution. We work with and in the community around the shows we do.
Last time found me working with lots of students, some old folks, and once – and this will always stay with me – we went into a prison in Indiana and played to the inmates. That was our preview. I wrote the above blog at the time and if you fancy double Al Barclay it’s one of the posts from the blog that kicked this extended experiment off.
The last tour was one of the most fruitful and positive times I could’ve had in a very dark personal place. Now I’m internally much better and I’m very excited about the potential of what might come from this tour with this extraordinary group of humans.
I have no idea what it’ll bring, but the five of us are already ready for it.