Dress rehearsal in my living room

I’m not sitting in the chair I’d normally be sitting in. Friday night yeah!? I might even go sit on the floor in a bit just because, yeah? Yeah.

I ate very well tonight, because of my new habit of copying an old lady’s shopping. Those Waitrose Gressingham duck breasts are very tasty alongside a spot of spinach and new potatoes – and a can of Stella. I’ve drunk all the wine. It might be Friday but I think I’ll still crash out early tonight. I haven’t got plans for a big one at home, despite the weekend. I even changed my sheets just now to guarantee happy slumber. Let’s see where the night goes though, hey? Hex might have other plans. He’s pretty active right now, so I’m letting him roam but preventing him when it looks like he’ll get himself somewhere that I can’t find him.

We open this show tomorrow, and we come together to do this strange live thing from my messy improvised living room green screen studio.

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We are widely scattered over our United Kingdom, with at least one in Scotland, one in Loughborough, one in Leighton Buzzard, one in Lurgan. Only two in London.

The director’s in Port Stewart near where you could get the ferry when I was a nipper. One is in Cwmnafan, and I’m not even sure how to pronounce it. I’ve never knowingly been in the same room as him. That’s a strange thing to notice.

My Sky internet in London is extremely unreliable at the moment which is a worry. Friends of mine have imputed that it might go down entirely before long under some kind of attack, and much as I’d be fascinated to see the fallout now we are all so reliant on it, I’m hoping it doesn’t interrupt what is a sweet and silly creative endeavour by some good hearts.

The last two runs I’ve been kicked out of zoom. This sort of thing is always the thing to worry about when making a live experience with a tech angle. This is harder to solve than the players not getting a clue by text message.

If my internet goes you lose an actor mid show. I will just disappear, without ceremony.

There’s always a way to cover. But despite the deliberately fragile nature of what we are making I think we would all prefer to give the audience something along the lines of what we are hoping for, rather than an extensive troubleshooting improv session. There’s already enough improv going on considering this is billed as Shakespeare.

We had a five year old watching the test session today though and he had a good long list of things he liked – which speaks well. I think it’s rich and strange from my perspective. I still can’t quite credit it, that I’m opening a show tomorrow. That people have bought tickets and will come online and share the joy with us.

It’s a community of people in lockdown making a version of an old but remarkable and complicated story about redemption and forgiveness, about love and forgetting the past, about magic and responsibility. There’s a lot in The Tempest – the last play written by that hugely influential humanist. We have boiled it down to about an hour. When we did it last summer there were zombies. Now there’s a wilfull snake and loads of beautiful hearts in lockdown.

Zoom into The Tempest in new live interactive adaptation

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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