Thursday, 18 August 2016

Is it Wednesday or Thursday? And what is my name?

I've reached the stage when I'm beginning to forget what is actually happening here on a daily basis! The days are all blending into one and it genuinely feels like we've been here forever. It's like we're living in a crazy Nania-esque alternative reality. I feel like I'll return to London, twenty years older, but that no one will notice I've been away!

Nathan was with us for much of yesterday. He told me last night on the phone that this place, these rehearsals, have started to feel like a second home. He arrived two nights ago and was incredibly touched to be greeted like an old friend by Robyn and Laura, who were the first two people he bumped into.

Yesterday felt like the day when people started hitting walls. The Wednesdays and Thursdays of any NYMT rehearsal period are apparently somewhat renowned in that regard. There were a few little flurries of tears with people suddenly realising how much further we've yet to journey.

There was a lovely moment when we went out into the grounds behind the place where we're rehearsing and found the girls in the cast practising the instruments they've learned for the show. They don't have to be that good, but it's vital they at least know how to get their fingers around the instruments. It was such a lovely sight. Zach, who leads the trumpets in the pit orchestra, was giving the girls a masterclass and the sun was glinting on all the instruments and making Eleanor's brilliant auburn hair glow like a field of electric poppies.

We worked on the song I Miss The Music, which is the moment in the show when the Pals sing about the brass band they used to play in, and how much they miss playing together: "I feel the crackle of a gramophone, the soft hum of a baritone and then I fee the chill. In battle every sound can kill..."

Poor Callum in the cast lost his Grannie yesterday and spoke about the Welsh word hiraeth, which he felt summed up the song. Hiraeth is reckoned to have no direct English translation, but in broadest terms it's a form of homesickness, which is tinged with a deep sadness. Callum right. Hiraeth sums up the song perfectly.

The lads did such amazing work. Anyone who comes to see the show should always find time to carefully watch the sterling work which is going on within the ensemble of this show. Jack, for example, is a deeply committed actor.

We waved a fond farewell to Nathan after tea (which was a barbecue out on the grassy courtyard behind the refectory.) I didn't much like saying goodbye to Nathan. I very much enjoy him being around in rehearsals because he grounds me. And I miss him.

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