On Saturday, I caught the train up-and-across to Halesworth for the 2013 HighTide Festival. On the way there, I met a couple of chatty Londoners which meant that my new Ned Beauman acquisition went unread, but I much prefer the company of people to the company of books. Perhaps this is bad for my writing.
I intend to write about the shows I saw there in another post, this will be about True Brits. All six Escalator Plays were going to get an extract aired in the Main Room of the The Cut, midday on Sunday. We had approximately an hour’s worth of rehearsal for each twenty minute slice’o’play. That’s an unnerving rehearsal to performance ratio. It was made all the more troublesome when it turned out that the actor for my monologue (Shane Zaza), hadn’t been receiving the director (Ellen McDougall)’s e-mails. The one with all the background. The cement. The grit. He just had the script. Balls.
I think the reason writers, especially theatre writers, overwrite their first few drafts is because they worry than an audience won’t “get it”. We forget that there are at least two other people working on the piece to make that happen. My favourite part of rehearsal is bringing out the pen-turned-scapel and slashing away at the unwanted flabby sentences, scriptual cosmetic surgery. Word can be overrated.
The unspoken moment is the stuff of magic (one of my favourite scenes in film is the recording booth moment in Before Sunrise). Actors and directors know all about presenting and clarifying those moments. So it went here. Shane didn’t need my background bollocks and essays (literally essays). He absolutely nailed the performance, and it was the glances and gestures that made it. One man, in front of a huge room, and he made people chuckle and awww. I was so chuffed about it, I just wish I’d not been spluttering up phlegm throughout. Summer colds and distinctly unsexy.
Afterwards, so many people came to tell me how much they enjoyed the part of True Brits they’d seen. They wanted to give the character a great big hug, which is exactly what I wanted and it’s all credit to Shane and Ellen. A pair of old Suffolkian ladies even said they’d come see Bump off of the strength of what they saw. Neat, huh? I’m glad it connected with people beyond my immediate peers.
So yes. They want to give Rahul a hug. I told them to hold on to that instinct. Things get pretty ropey for him…come see how next year (fingers entwined).