Thursday, 25 February 2016

Roller coaster

Today has been something of an emotional roller-coaster. We were in the theatre bar at noon with our director Luke, who greeted us with an outrageous idea for a comprehensive script rewrite he thought might fix the issues we've been having with audience responses to what can only be described as the "declaration of love" sequence. Luke outlined his proposal. I immediately rejected it. He came at it from a different angle. We thought for a while, and then rejected the idea again. He tried a third angle. We put pen to paper to see if we could make it work. Nathan stormed off because he thought he couldn't. I persisted. Nathan came back. I went for lunch whilst he persisted. We coaxed and cajoled the script into something we felt happy with, put it on its feet with the cast, and, when it seemed okay, the change went in... Luke's instincts were correct.

It was a very stressful few hours! I think perhaps it was worse for the cast who were handed new sides at 4pm, given a couple of run-throughs and told they'd be performing it in front of an audience that night. As the scene rolled in, Nathan and I grabbed each other and crossed our fingers nervously... but it worked. And it worked very well.

There was a shift tonight. The cast felt it. The musicians felt it. We now have a show which has been bedded in - and it's one that people feel relaxed about and confident in. There was a different attitude in the bar afterwards. People hung about. The cast were smiling. We've cracked it as much as the show will ever be cracked in this run, and we are collectively relieved.

We went out for a drink afterwards. I'm playing Cupid with two members of the company and a weirdly synchronistic thing happened between them today, which I'm taking to be a great sign... When you get to my age, and are all settled down like an old married men with a pipe, slippers and episodes of Ru Paul, you take great delight in fixing people up. Well I do anyway... But then I always have.

The relief was followed by the weird pain/ pleasure sensation of the cast of the new version of Brass finally finding out the results of their auditions. Some are sad. Some are happy. God I hate this business sometimes. It's a tough old world and when you're right at the start of your career, it can be a desperately painful one.

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