Pressure run

I feel like I’ve run a marathon.

I sweated a river, unnecessarily shouted enough to train an army, lost all the words I knew when I saw people writing about me talking, covered for uncertainty with a display of overconfidence as is my wont and generally made a twatgenius of myself as I can do when I don’t know fully what I’m doing. If I’m unsure I always attack harder than when I’m sure. That’s my way. I paint in broad strokes, then pull back, then overlay, then finally detail.

I remember this afternoon a verse scene as Antonio that I know excellently being derailed when the person I was delivering my line towards started writing something. It might not even have been about me. I was thrown though. Useful to be thrown. Maybe I don’t know it as excellently as I thought… Maybe I need to really work out the verse again with a ball, think about clarity and detail. Or maybe I just need more time in a room without disrupted company, working with these particular humans on this incredible text.

You always have to keep going back to the text. It’s never worth muffing verse in a company that values that idiom. And my prose is still sometimes made up as Toby. Shakespearean prose is an absolute ball-ache to learn. I’ve got work to do to get the specific words. Lots of it. And no underlying meter to help. I have a thought-filler where I say “I do dare say” while I’m searching for the words he did write in prose. We will need to be utterly precise and correct very very soon.

But five of us did the show starting at the beginning and ending at the underrehearsed song at the end. We didn’t look at our scripts. We noticed every time the ball dropped. Often as with Antonio who I’ve drilled finely, it was to do with the circumstances. Still worth noting. If you can be thrown you can be thrown. My personal shit about an individual came into the room. That shouldn’t happen. I need to know things better and deeper.

It’s like when you do an audition and all three people on the panel are eyes down writing while you work through a tricky scene. It can be discombobulating when people make notes when you want them to be watching. Even though the notes might be glowingly positive and listening is enough.

The people at the showing all have our best interests at heart. And their notes are designed to be helpful. We took them in the spirit they were given and will build them in. These lovely people had given their afternoon to help us. That time is valuable to us. But now we have to bind together with rigor and positivity and make this into the show it almost is.


We fly on Sunday. Then it’s mostly just the five of us, zooming around in beautiful places, making things happen, rolling with the changes, telling a story. It’s gorgeous, this company. The work ethic, the thinking behind it, what it makes possible. Just five actors every tour, twice a year for half a century. We get to tell stories to people who have never seen a play before. But bloody hell, right now I’m feeling the pressure. It’s not all done… It will be. I have to sleep.

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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