Monday, 22 February 2016


I sweated like cheese in cling film through the night. Nathan said he went to the loo at one point and describes the act of getting back into bed like rolling into a puddle. I kept having to turn the pillow. Ah! The joys of colds! Getting out of bed was deeply depressing and I realised I was not going to get through this really important day without some sort of heavy-duty medicine.

The trouble is, when I get tired or ill like this, I lose even more of the few filters I have when talking to young people. As those who know me will attest to, I never think about what I'm saying. I speak fast and regret/ repent at leisure. It simply pours out of my mouth in a torrent of profanity and inappropriateness. I dread to think what will happen when I'm senile!

Does anyone reading this find themselves looking at the "baby on board" badges women wear on the underground and wondering if the person wearing it is actually pregnant? Is that a really bad thing to say?

So recalls for Brass went spectacularly well. They were brilliantly organised by Jezza and we saw some supremely talented actors and had really intense sessions with them. I'm dreading some of the young people finding out what has happened, and excited about others...

It was fabulous to see so many former Brassers there. Many of them are now at drama schools and have improved beyond all measure. There's a gravitas and focus developing in them which was thrilling to witness.

Some of the young people were hugely well-prepared, others hadn't really bothered. One girl, a Yorkshire lass, made the ludicrous decision to tell our prospective assistant director that she wanted to be in Spring Awakenings so hadn't looked at her material for Brass. Her audition was disastrous, she felt like a fool, and she went from top of my previous list to bottom of my new one!

Others hadn't bothered to learn their scripts or the songs. We heard every excuse in the book. At one stage I just wanted to scoop one lad up and say, "there are so many brilliant kids who are off-book and acting their socks off, why on earth would I give you a part?" Bothering to learn a page of sides tells a writer and director that you care about the project, and furthermore that you're going to learn your lines and not throw down excuses willy-nilly in the future.

In the end, the casting decisions needed to be made by Hannah the director. Quite a number of original Brassers haven't been given their original roles, which made me feel awful, but, I'm hoping they'll have precious memories from the last time which will carry them through. Others have been offered ensemble roles.

We ate pizza and spent two hours making our decisions, and then a further hour mopping up after one of those inevitable clashes you get with NYMT when two productions want the same actor to play leads. If neither have an alternative, there is no amount of negotiation that can be done, so the actor is called and given the choice. On this occasion we lost out, so had to scramble around, desperately swapping people about.

We got there though, and I'm so excited to see how the show starts to develop.

I came home and had to wade through a hefty wad of nonsense in the form of the sort of out of hours incendiary emails which have become the benchmark of my life. There was a bit of a scene and I got incredibly distressed, managing to walk two miles. I don't know where I thought I was going. I then didn't sleep.

Bullying is a funny thing. I remember being in the third year at school and this girl who used to prod at me constantly, making cruel and snide remarks. I'd repeatedly tell her to stop, but she continued. In the end I told her that if she did what she was doing one more time, I'd punch her. She did. I punched her. Not very hard. But she burst into tears, went to tell a teacher and I got into terrible trouble.

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