German musicians

Home again. Nobody but me tonight so far. I haven’t spoken to my flatmate about the sociopath yet. Time will find it’s way. I’m gambling that she doesn’t read my blog. The catchment is deliberately small so here’s hoping.

I went to a new theatre space today to read a lovely play. It’s a three hander – two men and one woman – dealing with musical people from nazi Germany. It’s about guilt and about the things we choose to remember vs the things we choose to forget. It’s a well researched and cleanly written piece of theatre.

I was in a room with two other very proficient actors. The writer was also in attendance as was a director and a designer and a producer. It’s always a ceremony. You get coffee. There are snacks on the table. There’s water. People are convivial. Then, at a certain point, no matter where we are sitting, we start to read.

I am no expert on Nazi Germany. Alma Rosé is mostly unknown to me. My character speaks her surname the first time it’s mentioned in the script. And there is no acute accent in the script I was sent, so I pronounce it like the flower, only to have the reading stopped for a go-over. There’s a lot of assumption of knowledge here. I’ve spent my life geeking out in other directions than Nazi Germany. I’m not made to feel bad for my ignorance, mind. I’m just made to feel it, as if I should know all the things in the writer’s head by instinct having had no time with the script, sight-reading opposite an actor who has had TIME and laid down their performance, German accent and all. I decided that despite my good German accent I wasn’t going to follow suit as accent would come at the expense of meaning so early in the process.

The reading was a good example of the play as it is right now. It’s in development. People speak at great length and then cede ground to other people who have just as much to say. I found myself partly longing for that sort of work. God. It would be so pleasant for a change. Rather than having to be constantly alert, sweating through hours and hours alert, you could just decide on the shape of the argument and the nuance with the director and then just cookie cut it every night. No need to be awake to each individual audience member. Very few quick exchanges. Easy work…

I enjoyed reading the part. Even though it came to me last minute, it was excellent casting for me for many reasons. But my primary feeling was that the whole part was unnecessary. The play deals with two figures who actually lived, and explodes an imagined interaction between them. My character is a pretend therapist for one of them who time-hops into a made up waiter in a hotel where they were stuck back in the dark times. Both my parts are invented, unlike theirs. If my character time-hops, why can’t it be hers? She should double as the made up therapist and as Alma. It would be tighter, neater and cheaper. Not to put myself out of a part. But part of my job is to make things as efficient as possible and if I can save budget now, I might reap it later. Life is long.

Meanwhile, humbug. Come see Carol. Appropriately, John Hopkins, an old friend, has been on my debt board for five years. He was freed from penury tonight, of all nights, when he is going to press as Scrooge at Bristol Old Vic. Strange convergence. Something auspicious perhaps…


Here’s a nice review of our show.

We will certainly sell out. I can’t get you comps because of the food. But come play if you can.

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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