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Where we’re at.


I have cancelled tomorrow’s rehearsal. We don’t need it. Not because the show couldn’t be ‘better’ (It could be, it couldn’t be). No, it’s got little to do with spit and polish. On the one hand there is only 50% of a cast available, but that isn’t usually an issue, given that NSC and I are getting really good at standing in, and while it’s not exactly the same, the motions that we’re going through are getting pretty good. On the other hand, we can always tweak bit and pieces here and there, but at this stage, that seems to me to be a slightly futile exercise where time could be much better spent resting, or stitching lace onto costumes.

I am really excited about this piece and it’s strange but it’s hard to define why. My feelings about it kind of defy explanation. I know the work is certainly very different from that which I had originally set out to make almost two years ago. It’s very much a product (‘product’ being such a misleading word) of the performers’ generosity with their souls, and a testament to their strength. It is so much simpler than I ever imagined it would be. And the thing – it breaks my heart. I know it back to front and inside out, and although I always have a fairly strong idea of what topics of conversation flow into others, I am constantly shaken with the immediacy of its delivery – there is always this raw, beautiful surprise in the performers’ connection to their memories and their thoughts and theories that knocks me off my seat. It’s an odd, stumbling grace that is deeply, and uncomfortably affecting.

So, I am really happy with where the show is at the moment, which is odd. I’m usually running around at this stage stressing my head off about which scenes need working more than others, who still hasn’t learned that monologue properly, and how many tickets we haven’t sold.

Right now, I know that we have to begin to add technical elements into the piece quite quickly, and have a limited amount of time in which to do it. I have to tweak some blocking into transitions, and make sure that everyone is safe in whatever very low light they will end up having to negotiate their way around; I need to get a sound designer in the space and a sound design together and programmed in a matter of days, but you know, it’s more than halfway there in my mind.

Yes, I need people to buy tickets. I love it when people do. It’s a great thing, pre-sales. It’s a little bit of love that just keeps on being passed around. That’s my favourite way of thinking about ticket sales, anyway. I encourage everybody to do the same. Start sharing the love, here.

I think we need to run the show a couple of times, but there is time and time and time for that (actually, there are exactly three times where that can happen, so we’re in good shape). And apart from that, I’m champing at the bit, really. Oh, sure there are technical issues to be resolved, the floor needs painting again, I have to buy some thick chalk, and render a bit of video, but in spirit, I’m drinking a pre-show shiraz on opening, right now. I don’t think it’s possible to get over-excited about your own show, and hey – I know I’m going to fall head-first into a reality-check any second now, but I’m happy to revel in this moment of thrilled anticipation for as long as it lasts. I know it isn’t ‘perfect’ (and it ‘never’ will be…), but perfection is deeply subjective, and ‘perfect’ was never what we were after, anyway. On the flip-side, this piece is perfect in whatever form it takes, and from its performance, I couldn’t ask for more.

I think that if I were to see this show as an audience member who knew little to nothing about the work, I would walk away deeply excited and invigorated. Not just due to the content, but artistically the very rough, but quiet delicacy of the work is really something I haven’t seen around for a while, perhaps ever. And that has very little to do with me (my hand, that is) – it’s how the performers have responded to the lighting, have responded to the stimulus topics, have responded to the images I’ve thrown at them. I am working with a very unique group of artists who are helping to make a piece of theatre of which I am already very proud.

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