Sometimes this blog must seem a little Pollyanna-ish, that everything is amusing, wry or inspiring and nothing ever seems to go wrong on the shows I work on and write about. In fact, every day frustrating things happen, there are arguments, you doubt that an actor is going to get there, a prop turns up that looks awful, you get a report from outside that things are not going so well. I don’t write about these things by choice. My job as director is to guide a group of people with very different skill sets and desires into working as a unified whole in the creation of a piece of theatre. If there were a public forum where their (our) mistakes and foibles were published by someone whose job is to guide them, then trust would be instantly broken and no good work could be done. Not to mention the fact that once a show gets up, nearly all the petty issues and fears of achievement fade away, and what’s left is the good memories and goodwill you have towards each other. Except that bitch you’ll never work with again.
We completed and ran Act Two today. Except for Finally, which Natalie and I saved as a special treat for tomorrow. But the meat of the act is done, the scenes, the journey, the production numbers, the 40 year old man playing Benji. The run was very smooth, but very safe. It felt like the cast were carefully making their way through, hitting every beat and mark, but not coming to life within it. Which is fine for where we are (and also what I’ve seen they’re capable of in the first act). By tomorrow, Finally will be done, and by the weekend we’ll have run the entire show. The first major part of the journey is done. I imagine that’s contributed to my mood of melancholy today, realising how quickly this group of people will become another group of people that you once did a show with.
I thought I had tonsillitis this morning, actually. My throat was in agony. I’d had a second terrible night’s sleep in a row. Monday’s was bad because the fire alarm in the entire accommodation went off at 1130pm for an hour. Tuesday’s was bad because someone from Australia rang me three times between 2am and 3am. So I brought some fairly negative energy into the room. How does this manifest? No jokes and very to-the-point answers. But after fifteen minutes of work on the Benji scene I’d returned to my normal self. It’s very hard to direct actors to use Bananas in Pajamas dolls as microphones without cheering up somewhat. Things got better later in the day when Raquel, our Spanish company manager got me a gargle from the pharmacia, and Valentina, our Diva have me something called Saridon, which instantly took away the pain. I stocked up after work on this miracle drug, but then read the bottom of the packet – Paracetamolo + Propifenazone + Caffeina. Don’t think I’ll be taking that one before bed.