FINALLY! I get to work on my show! It’s rehearsal week, first three days at my house, then off to St Gabriel’s Pimlico for two workshop performances. It’s all about getting Honey’s Happening in tip-top condition for Brighton Fringe and beyond, working with a new Director, Oliver Senton, and a new co-star Rhiannon Vivian.
What goes on in a rehearsal room? Well I can’t speak for anywhere else, but I’d describe this one as meticulous, steady and workmanlike. We’re having fun of course, but in case you’re wondering, we’re not jumping around playing actors’ games in black jersey leisurewear. We’re taking things apart piece by piece, as Oliver and Rhi are getting under the skin of the piece for the first time, and I’m challenged to make my impulses as fresh as they were when I first put pen to paper.
I’m keen not to hang on to old tropes or taken-for-granted ways of delivering a line, but inevitably some have crept in. It’s only when you deliver your usual Cliff Richard joke and your Director says ‘is that a new thought or a continuation of the previous thought?’ that you think actually, it’s been a while since I’ve really looked.
It’s a forensic and utterly absorbing process which occupies a completely different part of my brain. I love it, the relentless practice, repetition and concentration required to evolve a scene. It’s a boot camp except there’s no shouting or press-ups, and many more Naked bars involved. (Am I the only person who has another because you haven’t tried the ones in the alluring turquoise wrapper? Madness.) Last night, at the end of Day 1 I found myself exhausted, shoulders aching, and sinking into a how-long-can-I-spend-on-Amazon-without-actually-buying-anything session. When I heard myself calling hubby over to say ‘Honey, these blank white postcards are 500 for £4.99, but they have perforated edges, so I’m wondering whether this 300 pack for £5.99 would be better, but they aren’t on Prime?” I realized I didn’t even care how boring I was being. Neither did he question the person I’d become. Which is even sadder.
But it was a nice tiredness, the kind you get after a day well spent. Lots of productive work, no artistic tantrums or irreconcilable ‘creative differences’. We are what would be known in business as a ‘high-functioning team’. Bring on Day 2….