“I like it like this,” says Claire. We are rehearsing in a sauna. Pathetic fans flank the walls, moving the sweltering air around us to no discernible effect. All of our thinking is tortoise slow. We are unfamiliarly fractious. Everybody but Claire is flagging by lunchtime. Claire is bouncing around, keeping the energy moving, positive and funny. How? Who knows. Maybe all the barre classes she teaches. I can feel myself melting into myself. My brain is gazpacho. If I move too quickly it’ll slop out through my ears.

I’m usually cool with heat. I used to go to Bikram Yoga on purpose until I got fed up of feeling dehydrated for hours afterwards. This has been a slog today though in a sweaty room. So much still to do. Jen and Jack were in with us, being lovely, but our five has become a seven. A different dynamic.

We still managed a good day, even if I felt my own eyes on myself unkindly. I know intellectually that’s just a function of me when tired and the heat strung me out fast.

Oh all we humans know so much about ourselves intellectually that we can’t put into practice. It’s the same with the work on the scenes.  “This scene should be about *idea*” we might say. But in the end it always has to be about *need*. Let the idea coruscate in the air between our conflicting objectives, ignored by us, observed by our watchers, different for people with different lives from ours. Most of our audiences on this tour will have lives such as we could never have experienced. We can bring them the story of Twelfth Night. They will do with it what they will. That’s art, at heart. And theatre is live art.

This story is rich. Loving the wrong person, hiding aspects of yourself and the toll it takes, bullying and being bullied, so many colours of love, so many colours of disguise and identity, all wrapped up in the wind and the rain, come away death, grief, avoidance, party, the morning after, love love truth pain need love longing love twelfth night.


Rehearsal done, I hauled myself sweatily across London and over to my brother Rupert’s lovely house in Kensington. He’s worked hard. It has borne fruit.

I was picking up some children’s books that my nephew had written about screen addiction on a successful Kickstarter. He needed them posted to America. I was going to go out and send them locally. Turns out he’s already posted them from the UK. Hey ho. Saves my packing weight and makes it easier for me in the long run.

We had dinner al fresco and how many times can you do that in London? There’s the payback for cooking in our own sweat together like five little Shakespeare lobsters all day.

This will be beautiful and clear this show. We still have detail work to do, but the wash is in place. I need to cut this fabric and so some sewing. Fuck it. I wish my grandmother was still alive, she’d smash it for me. It’s down to me being clueless with fabric and magnets first thing tomorrow morning…


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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