I’ve only been two nights away. I’m back home and my body feels exhausted. My brain feels wrung out. In a good way, sure, but I’m going to have to go to sleep soon.
It can be tiring, this acting business. I enjoy it, but I think every one of us was exhausted today after just one two show day. Admittedly we all stayed up until the small hours last night post show, talking and decompressing. But we’ve all been starved of that old familiar thing – being part of a company. We were reveling in it. Generosity together in front of an audience. No matter the size of the audience and the location, the cost is the same. And we wanted to decompress together. It’s part of the ritual.
In previous years we’ve been lucky enough to stay in a beautiful vast home, but this year with Covid we were scattered a bit more. Caravans and airstreams were provided by patrons of the theatre, but some were quite some distance away from unit base. Anticipating that it would be crowded and potentially awkward I just brought my tent, but I am just not as ordered right now as I sometimes can be. I forgot my inflatable mattress. I couldn’t even find my festival bag with all my little lights and comforts. So I just had a ground mat, my sleeping bag, a bunch of clothes and my mushroom knife. The nights were cold and noisy with hard rain. I slept in socks and trousers. Writing to you now I’m on my sofa and it feels like absolute luxury in comparison. Despite the long grass soft from constant rain, it was still hard in that field.
This morning, as with the showtimes, the Rain Gods were merciful. After a night of noisy deluge I was suncooked out of my tent in time to wipe it down with my T-Shirt and pack it up damp rather than soaking – a window in the rain that opened almost perfectly at the time it was needed. I absolutely have to remember to find a large open space and air the thing out in the next week or so before it turns into a horrible mouldy wreck. But at least it was just grass-damp this time. I once packed it up soaking and then forgot to air it for a year. That first night was horrible, and the poles never recovered. If only I had that house with a garden I drew for myself at school when I was five – I’d peg it out there on the next sunny day. But it’s vast, my tent. There’s nowhere I can air it round here where I wouldn’t be arrested. I’m not sure what the best thing to do is, really. Likely it’ll have to wait until I have my new wheels.
Scott drove me home. Nice to be a passenger for a change. He pointed out a hill near Abergavenny called The Blorenge. It’s taken me over four decades to find it, but finally there’s something for the next person who tells me there’s nothing that rhymes with “orange”.