Sunday, December 10, 2006

Saturday then. I tried hard to appreciate all the effort unfolding in front of me. I consciously enjoyed the 'Stripped' beginning of the play. And it all went smoothly enough - although there were more little hiccups than there had been the night before. My favourite line mangling saw Brian referring to wolfhounds when he should have been referring to some other - not sure if it was even dog like - creature. But it's always amusing watching them trying to wriggle out of a wrong line and get back on track.

Poor Joe struggled on stage manfully and was as consistently good as ever. If you'd known he'd knackered a rib, you might have noticed that he was rather less limber in his rising from the dead as Jussup than usual. But I doubt many people would have. And he knocked Azdak around rather more gingerly than he had done previously. But other than this, a fine example of 'the show must go on-ing'.

I had been vaguely apprehensive as certain of the actors had been mentioning the large number of on-stage pranks that they were planning to perform in celebration of the last night. But none of these (discernably to an audience at least) seemed to come to fruition.

So the smoke machine billowed, the music synchronised perfectly with the action where it was meant to, the actors dutifully trotted around the minimalist set, Georgia (child of the night) had been sorted out with a T-shirt that wasn't pink and red stripes and then it was over.

I always hanker for a moment when it's all over that I can just stand and take stock and think 'haven't we done well'. I mean just me, for about 3 seconds, before we finally leave the theatre. But it rarely happens like that.

Almost the second we finished, the crew leapt into life and started taking things apart. And the actors all dart backstage and pack costumes and tidy dressing rooms and gather supplies for the after-show party. They all reassembled briefly on stage afterwards for a cast / crew picture. And what a lot of people it was. I must get hold of the picture and post it up here.

And then the ripping apart of the rostra began in earnest, the un-hanging of the lights, the coiling of the cables and I rushed to and fro from front stage to back, largely carrying messages and small light items of things that needed to go back to Home Street.

It was as beautifully smooth a move out as it had been a move in. Thanks to dear Richard Graveling and our order-barking producer. But in the rush to get the van off to Home Street to get everything unpacked to get off to the party, I didn't get my moment. Still.

The after-show party was suitably sweet. Iain Kerr had very kindly allowed us to take over his house - which is a lovely house. Quiche abounded - as did rose wine in one of these peculiar quirks of fate where everyone somehow brings the same sort of thing.

Ross didn't come but many others did. And Siobhan made a very sweet presentation to me of some extraordinary tropical flowery things and a bottle of prosecco. The point is that the group 'tradition' dictates that we don't get directors (or anyone else for that matter) presents as it sets dangerous precedents and god forbid we see the day when we have a director we hate and don't get them a thank you present and are saddled ever after with their resentment.

I spoke a few largely insincere words about how hard everyone had worked and how it had been a tortuous up-hill struggle getting there but I thought that we'd had a really good show. And then it's the crazy Oscar scenario where you're trying to remember everyone that you need to say thank you to - and you're sure that you're forgetting people - and you're sure that you don't actually want to thank everyone that you are thanking but diplomacy dictates that you will. I hope I didn't miss any of the deserving.

Then the skit. And this I suspect was a classic case of hearing what you want to hear - or rather what is relevant to you - but. It was titled 'the caucasian blonde chick' and seemed to be largely about how indecisive I was. Whenever presented with a question (in the skit), I would reply "yes, no, maybe, oh I don't know, what do you think?" Funny the first few times. But it neatly broke my heart. Is this really what everyone thinks? Is this what they say about me behind my proverbial back? Was I really that shit??

Let's not tar everyone with the same brush. It was the work of Gordon and Stephen. And probably was filled with gibes directed at everyone else involved in the production too.But self, self, self, I didn't notice. And it was very kind of them to write a skit at all. And maybe this is what I was like. In which case, oh my god Claire, pull yourself together. Because this isn't me.

Thank god, the skit was only half-written. So a little later, at a suitable juncture, I was able to slink away to the downstairs toilet and lock myself in and sob quietly to myself. Overwrought me thinks. Hurt that all my efforts and gritted teeth could apparently be summed up in a sentence of indecision. Suffering from a sense of humour failure I don't doubt. But all in all, it was a scrappy watery glace icing on a lumpy bumpy cake of good intentions.

I was very grown up about it (in my head). I just left a little while later when a car was going vaguely my way. But the next morning, when with previous shows, I have woken up feeling full of lovely cosy satisfaction that we pulled it off, I just woke up feeling full of relief that it was all over.

Now it's a strange one because I'm not, for one second, disputing the fact that the show was a terrible uphill and often thankless effort. The closest that I can get to it is that I'm disappointed that people didn't enjoy it more. Which isn't to say that I wish people had liked me more - because I don't think it's that. But what is the point of amateur theatre if you don't enjoy it?

And of course, if I was rubbish, what satisfaction is there to take in that? It just becomes a crazy ego trip where I subject everyone to my indecisive lack of will.

I am waiting to see if hindsight - if the distance between me and trials and tribulations of putting the show together - will bring some sense of achievement. I keep telling myself that aside from anything else, we got there. And it was a good show. But this is just mind over matter and doesn't really convince me. So. We wonder. I wonder rather. How long it will be before I take any pleasure at all in this millstone that filled up my life for six months.

What a bloody prima donna.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I had almost nothing to do with the production of this sadly - beyond sitting in a couple of meetings where it was discussed. Still, it's one of those ads that makes me shallowly happy to work in advertising.
So anyway, Joe's rib.

We staggered along to the pub after the adjudication. Strange little "Greyfriars Bobby". And I was standing in amongst the packed masses, supping my Grolsch, when someone wove their way over to me and started muttering about Joe and his rib. He was having some difficulty with it. After a coughing fit apparently. But I slackly beer-revellingly ignored the alert and went on drinking.

I was temporarily - and delightfully - distracted by a text from a client saying "watching comic relief. I hate myself and I want to die. Hope you're ok" and a text a few minutes later "sorry, wrong Claire. Hope you're well". Marvellous stuff. What to do about that?

But then someone (Jonathan?) came back over to me and said that I really should go and talk to Joe as it looked like it was serious. So I trotted across to him and indeed, he thought he'd cracked a rib in a post-play excitable coughing fit. So off he went to casualty.

Self self self I immediately anxiously thought about the play. Richard Graveling was more or less simultaneously leaving the pub and in a flash of desperate insight, I thought perhaps he could replace Joe - if Joe were not to fit to perform the next night. Richard was affably amenable. He was heading to the rugby the next day and said I could just call him and let him know one way or another. Admirably unperturbed.

Joe texted me just before 2am saying that he had pulled a muscle, would sleep on it (as it were) and call me the next afternoon to alert me to his fitness for performance. So I slept - with some anxiety, it would be fair to say.

But then in the middle of Asda (Walmart) the following day, he texted me to say that he was bruised but fine. It seemed almost like an anti-climax.