True Brits started rehearsing last week and I stayed the hell away from it until yesterday. I’ve learned from experience that if you come into the room too early then the actors can instinctively look to you, the writer, for the answer. While that’s flattering and sometimes useful, I’ve found it much better to let the director establish a dynamic with the actor first and let them approach the text together. Before, of course, sauntering in a few days later and telling them they were all wrong.
In this case though, there was no sauntering to be had. I’ve been with this play for so long that I give totally frazzled, jibberish answers when people ask me “so what’s it about?”. Truthfully, though I know I knew once, it had been a while since I could say with absolute certainty what I was trying to do with the piece, which is a dangerous situation to give interviews and/or rewrite in. Sometimes you can completely forget why you set about writing something and you just start hating it.
Yet, watching the first run for True Brits – just the actor, no lights, no sound, no nothing – I had a moment, as it reached its end where I went “Oh yeah. That’s what this is.” Having it a bit ‘weirded’ through another voice and out of my head let me not just know why I wrote the play, but love it again a little.
Thank fuck for that. Here are some pretty pictures of funny faces.