It’s telling that I think of South Bend as a small town. It has 30,000 more residents than the Isle of Man. I haven’t really got out of the little bubble that is the campus of the major university where we are all rehearsing. But somewhere nearby is a seething town.
I’m knackered. We just did a showing to the associates. The people who have made it possible for so many actors from London to explore America for decades. I wasn’t about to phone it in, so I threw energy at three people with notepads – as much as I would have thrown at 220 people who have never seen Shakespeare. Working on stage is kindest when your energy is sent back to you. I feel like a wrung out sponge.
We all decanted to O’Rourke’s, the Irish pub on Eddy Street, which is the only street we have available, and largely the only pub after we had a dire experience at Brothers on our first jetlagged night, trying to get food. We ate pure salt and were actively punished with delay by the staff, just because we were tired and in a rush.
We are getting notes from Scott who knows this game so well. He watched us work and he has seen so many companies work so many shows over so many years that he can deftly say things about the stuff we aren’t thinking about that are extremely helpful and positive. Before this we got notes from Peter, who knows Shakespeare backwards and forwards and inside out, and Grant who has watched these for twenty years and more.
Someone decided it was a good idea to have tequila during the notes. I’m not sure if it was me. I think it probably wasn’t. I don’t usually think it’s a good idea to have tequila. It isn’t usually a good idea to have tequila, generally, in my experience. But tequila we had. It was lovely but there was a noticeable side-effect in that it made each one of us considerably more drunk than we might otherwise have been. This is the particular skill of tequila. Makeydrunkenfaceness. All six of us magnified. We are all pretty extreme anyway. It got pretty intense, but always positive, as we all got properly drunk in the same room for the first time. We will travel well together, this band of weirdos. Very well. We are different enough to keep trying, and similar enough to keep understanding.
I’m in my peaceful hotel room again, listening to Rachmaninoff with half an ear, and the wet sounds of the four by fours as they squelch past on the main road to my left with the other. I always need to close the door at some point. There are some people I can have on the inside when I close it, but it’s rare to find them. Mostly I recharge solo. That’s the way of it. But we are on the way to something with this show. We still need to tighten. I need to remember that as well as being Toby and Antonio I’m the clock that upbraids Olivia with a waste of time. If the clock doesn’t upbraid Olivia, Olivia will upbraid the clock…