Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Letting go

We've been at the Arts Theatre for much of the day today, largely with the band, running various section of the show, firstly in a rehearsal room (where we were constantly interrupted by people asking us if we could keep the noise down) and then in what's known as a "seating call", where the band play for a while in the place where they'll be sitting during the show whilst various sound people rush around getting levels and positioning mics.

We also saw the set for the first time in most of its eventual glory and, my God, those who come to watch the show are in for a treat. The Arts Theatre has never before housed a show with so many lights and extraordinary visuals. It's a very small theatre for the scale of the show, which means those watching are going to be knocked sideways by the power of the piece. They're going to feel like the actors are right there in their laps. It's hugely exciting. Please please come!!

It's quite astounding to think how much our project has grown. Our decision to feature an eponymous fence in the show, and have the women climb over it, for example, means that enormous teams of people needed to be brought onto the project to fix the problems which this particular idea presented. We needed a giant fence. We needed to be able to get the women over it safely. The fence needed to be designed and built. And so it goes on with every one of the challenges our script posed.

The thought that people (actors, directors, designers, musicians) have poured over our script, practised complicated little musical runs, got their heads around the meaning of certain phrases, painted signs, ordered and made props simply to bring what we've written to life is hugely thrilling.

I don't know why all of that struck me today. Maybe it's because we've been able to stop running around like headless chickens and simply observe for the first time. Perhaps it's because Nathan has continually encouraged us both to drink some of these moments in. Seeing our names on a huge billboard outside the theatre helped. It suddenly made us feel validated - like all the way along on the project people knew how much work we were doing to keep the experiment on track, interrogating every system, pushing every computer process as far as it could be pushed, even down to allowing computers to select the names of the characters... All the tiny little things that will eventually be forgotten or brushed aside by the headlines of the project.

Anyway. I feel proud. Terrified of course. Scared that things will go wrong, or not be as good as they could be. I'm a natural-born worrier. I like to work out everything that can possibly go wrong and how it might be fixed, even though, on this project, I realise the worrying is always someone else's job. I can merely sit in the audience and enjoy the show.

This has never really happened to me before. I've always needed to be hands on. The night of the London Requiem I was directing the television coverage. When the Fleet Singers perform my work, I'm often singing. Or conducting. Or rushing about. Or taking notes. Or panicking. This is a fabulous exercise in letting go. But am I too much of a control freak to allow that to happen?

We'll see...

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