We're in Shropshire. Nathan's Mum is showing off her new vax and a cat is sleeping on my suitcase. There's an enormous vat of Quality Street in front of us, and we're being force fed biscuits. There's a beautiful Christmas tree in the corner of the room. The loo paper in the bathroom is covered in pictures of reindeers and santas. I think Nathan's Mum rather likes this time of year!
Two hours ago we were in Cheshire, which is one of those English counties I've no concept of. It's where Sam, Nathan's sister, now lives and it would appear to be a pleasantly rural place where pleasantly rural (and fairly well-off) people live.
It's Sam's birthday today, and we ate delicious plates of pasta and one of Nathan's step mother's famous Malteeser-topped Tiramisus. It's just struck me that the word Tiramisu feels much more like a Romanian word than it does an Italian word. Why might that be? Or am I wrong?
We started the day in a grubby-skied London. We were running auditions for two roles in Beyond the Fence. I don't like auditioning people. It's a necessary evil, but, since becoming the partner of an actor, I find it increasingly difficult to watch actors feeling nervous and vulnerable. When an actor leaves the space and no one even bothers to talk about whether they were right for the part because we all know they weren't, I imagine them leaving the room secretly hoping for the role, waiting for the phone call and being bitterly disappointed not to hear from us again.
There's always a fine line between working with an actor for long enough in an audition situation to make them feel like they've not had a wasted journey and giving them an over-inflated sense of their likelihood of getting the role.
That said, there were a couple of people who came in today so under-prepared and (in one case) late, that I'd feel hugely justified in telling them never to audition for me again. Doing a bit of research, or taking the time to prepare the script you've been sent goes a long way in this industry. If the only problem is that you're not right for THIS role, then the director will remember you for the next time.
We saw some wonderful actors. One of them made me cry... And, really interestingly for this project, the two front-runners for the show were accompanied by heavy bursts of wind outside which rattled the windows and made the trees twist and bend into bizarre shapes ... Keen readers of this blog will remember that rehearsals for the workshop of the show were temporarily stopped by a mini-tornado! I like to think the universe is trying to tell us something. As Nathan would say to me and my mate Llio when we go off on one about this sort of thing: "something about unicorns..." I prefer to think of it as a tribe of little Welsh dragons...