Monday, October 09, 2006

Three weeks of the tour done and I'm home for the next two weeks before buggering off on the road for another three. The schools are on holiday for a fortnight and I am being paid a £100 retainer not to take a job in the meantime. Like the National Theatre is just HOUNDING me!

The tour has been a lot more fun that previous ones. A lot easier. I get on with the others and we seem to laugh at the same things but even so, after three weeks on the road this is a welcome break. I miss my kids. Daisy seems so much older, even after only a week away from her.

We spent the last week doing the schools in Morayshire We stayed the whole week in one Bed and Breakfast and drove to the gigs each day, returning to the B&B each night. The upside of this was we didn't have to pack up each morning and drive to a new place and get settled in again and find somewhere to eat etc. On the down side, Bob and I were sleeping in a windowless box. The owners of the B&B (the Willowbank in Elgin if anyone is interested) had obviouslyy measured their car and then measured the garage and thought: "We can get another room in that gap at the end". So they did. Walled off the end of the garage, knocked a hole through to the main house and called it a bedroom. It was appalling. No window, damp, cold. The roof was low and sloped. The bathroom was tiny and must have been plumbed in by a midget. (The shower head was about nipple height with no way of adjusting it any higher - you either had to sit on the floor, or shower one-handed. Not a skill I possess). We spent a lot of time staying out of the room.

The girls' room was OK but the place is no longer on the Theatre's approved list, not after Bob and I had our four pennies worth.

The shows have been fun too (especially the bit where Sarah wraps herself around me and tries to drag me off to bed - I quite enjoyed that bit) but the show has been getting longer and longer. As we have learned what works and what doesn't, and how to milk a laugh out of situations, it's grown about eight or so minutes. One of the things I have really learned this time is that sometimes audiences need time to settle into a joke. There's one line towards the end which always used to get a laugh last year but not a titter this time. It took me a good week or so to notice the joke was falling flat and a few days to work out what was killing it. It was just as simple as Claire coming in too fast with the next line. It made sense for her to come in quickly. It is how her character would react but by coming in so fast she didn't give the audience time to get the joke and laugh before their brains were being fed more information. All this may seem amazingly obvious but when you are doing it, franticly trying to remember your lines and which exit you are coming off next, thoughts like that tend to take some days to be completed. They are half-realized when the situation presents itself, then forgotten a moment later as a new problem turns up, half-realized again during the next show - and so on.

It really is a very strange process this acting lark. You stand there talking to another actor in front of a hundred or so people, saying these things that you have learned, thinking all the time about how you are saying them, making yourself believe you are saying them for the first time ever, and trying to think about what it is you are saying, and trying to make it real, while at the same time part of your brain is going:
Now what was that thing she does with her hand in the next bit? You meant to mention it to her after the show all last week butbutt forgot.. Ah, right! that was it! I must mention that to her afterwards... wait a minute! I've usually got the drink in my hand by now, why am I still standing here when I should be over there. He forgot that line again never mind turn around and walk off that way... I wonder where we'll get lunch today? I can'trememberr what the next scene is. Crap! I haven't got a clue! Fuck! Wait a minute! if I'm standing here... and Bob's over there... wearing the hat... then.... OK !I know what my first line is when I walk back on. Haven't got a clue what's after that but that's enough. It'll come back to me...

Anyway we seem to have added eight minutes of silence to a forty-five minute show and made it funnier as well. It does mean we have less time to do the workshop afterwards but that's hardly a tragedy. That never was much fun.

I jus hope I can rememberr ANY of it when we go back out in two weeks time.

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