Wednesday, 17 August 2016

What day are we on?

Nathan came to Sevenoaks to surprise us all last night. His timing was impeccable. We were very close to the end of the day, and had just worked on the Shone With The Sun sequence, which had destroyed most of the cast, and his lovely bearded face appeared like a beacon of deep joy. I was in pieces. Kitty's rendition of Shone had made me think about Arnold Wesker who wrote most of the lyrics for the song. Curiously, I'd just taken a phone call asking me if I'd perform the original version of the song at Arnold's memorial at the Royal Court in October, so he was very firmly on my mind. I had a rather sudden realisation that he'd never see Brass and that I'd never see him again and all of that stuff was all whirling about in my head and making me feel very sad. There was also a rather weird sense of guilt which came from watching the cast in floods of tears. Should I have written a show with such highly charged emotional material and blithely expected young people to perform it? Battle of the Boat only killed off a mouse! Brass kills off most of its cast! (If you're thinking of coming, bring a tissue!)

The days are all rolling into one at the moment, and because I'm leaving it later and later before posting blogs at the moment, I'm forgetting what's happening on a day-by-day basis. We're all so so tired. I've started breaking out in spots and keep having to remind myself to drink water because I'm in a permanent state of dehydration. When I'm not crying like a Tiny Tears doll in the corner, I'm laughing hysterically. Almost anything will set me off these days. The two Lucys in the cast seem to have the capacity to make me howl with laughter, whilst Coraleigh and Maddie are some of those glorious people who seem to simply love to laugh. It's incredibly infectious. Last night, after rehearsals, a big gang of us went back to the girls' house and sat doing face swaps for most of the night. A "face swap," for those who haven't come across this rather peculiar iPhone app, allows two people sitting next to one another to take a picture which merges their facial features. The results can be extraordinary! For the record, the combination of my face and Robin's face creates an East German porn star from the 1980s, and egg-headed Jewish bloke with a face ravaged by bad plastic surgery! Nathan merged with Hannah the director produces the Hairy Bikers!

Anna in the cast plays the role of Titty, a love-sick teenager who is completely besotted with band-leader, Alf. She spends all of her scenes either talking about, or staring at, Ben Jones who plays the object of her affections. She came out with a classic line last night: "You know I stare at Ben a lot in this show? Well this morning I closed my eyes and he was still there!"
Now, that's what I call method acting!

We had a journalist from The Guardian with us yesterday who is writing a piece about Harry in the cast, a trans actor who's playing his first male role in Brass. I think the journalist was rather excited and amused by the concept of Harry playing a soldier, but I was able to tell her that, in all honesty, Harry has both the lowest voice in the cast and the best facial hair! Hannah gave him the role without knowing his history and actually said in his audition that she wanted him in the cast because of his fabulous "masculine energy." I do hope there comes a time in the not-too-distant future where no one feels the need to discuss trans "issues," but am aware that, until we reach that stage, it's really vital for people like Harry to be as visible as possible. He talks openly and with humour. He's a brilliant role model.

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