Matinee crowd. I’m in my nightie. I’ve just been outrageously flirted with by a drunk audience member. I think that the wild beard thing I have got going on right now is not common in the law firms and accountancies of Jersey.
We are in Yet to Come. Jack is trying to work out where best to stand with the torch for eyeline. I’m doing some emoting. I kind of have to. A: Dickens is the epitome of sentimental text. B: One of that hammered lot from the nursery school has just knocked over a glass of wine. I know we have another show to do. I hear the glass do down on our “we haven’t got spares” tablecloth. The little bit of my head that has always been in production for this show is thinking “evening show drenched tablecloth eeeek I don’t want to have to field that audience member.”
It’s the bit of the show where I watch Bob Cratchit leaving work after the death of his son. In previous years we have had all sorts of tricks with doors and desks. In this version I’m looking at a light and there’s a ton of smoke coming at me.
The ghost of Jacob Marley is guiding me through this experience. My employee is Bob Cratchit. “Oh look,” say I as Ebenezer Scrooge, in this matinee show. And I hear a thump. “Oh no that’s the red wine,” comes the audience whisper. I remain focused, no matter how early it is. ProfessionAL. Unruffled.
I look into the billowing smoke in front of me. I must have done this show a hundred times by now. “Oh look,” I repeat to give them time to come back from worrying about the wine spill I’m worrying about and to focus on the action. I’ve got them again, I think. They are all looking at me as I stare into smoke. “It’s Bob Marley.” And I stop. I’ve said it. I’ve put the two names together. It’s the reggae artist. And I’m looking at a load of smoke as I say it.
Internal monologue: Ok ok how do I save this shall I make a joke? There he is with his guitar? No woman no cry. But this is a moment that I have always always been policed in to be jokeless… Jokes are not allowed in Yet to Come. One joke can fuck the whole thing. I have no way to fix this I conclude. I’ll just continue. They’ll question what they heard.
Jack, meanwhile, is laughing. I hear him. Now I’m doing it too.
They call this corpsing. Because the worst person for it to happen to is the one who is supposed to be dead. Followed closely by me in this moment.
This early Christmas matinee. This very drunk half capacity audience. Dammit.
I had to keep staring into the light with my back to the audience. It’s literally the straightest moment of the whole show. I managed to get my shit together in time to land the last few beats. But … Bob Marley. Ach well.