True Brits had its first preview at the Park Theatre on Monday night. It’s by no means the end of the tinkering with the play (two more rehearsals) but between this and the play’s publication I think it’s time to call time on the “TBRD” tag. It’s now a big girl and out in the world.
As with every performance of everything I’ve ever had on ever, I was a total mess before hand. Darting around, greeting people, trying to sort comps lists, fighting down that feeling in my stomach that I’d written something no-one cares about whilst trying to tell myself that I didn’t care either when I really, REALLY did.
The Victoria Line was down and so we held the house for five minutes but we could delay no more and off the play went. I have a slightly odd thing of not really being able to look at a play I’ve written on opening night. Thus, sat in the rafters, I shut my eyes for the most of it and just listened to the audience reaction*. And it was…good? I think? A very friendly audience, no doubt, but a diverse one too and the response was palpably positive and exuberant. In fact, perhaps *too* exuberant – there were a fair few “Oh, I didn’t realise that was funny” lines. But, y’know, I’d rather have that than it falling flat.
The day, I suppose, should mean a lot to me considering it’s nearly two years that I first sat down and went “I want to write about this.” It was also the first time that my family got a chance to see what is quite a personal play (and thankfully they liked it!). Maybe I’ll enjoy the nice moments down the line (the big applause for the actor, the little applause as I came down the stairs, the glowing comments, the many high-fives) retroactively in a few more days. I hope so. I think you have to take time to appreciate the good times in a career like this or you go crazy. For now though, on and on to more projects.
Tanith, the director is an absolute wonder. Martin & Jon, the tech/op & sound lifted and supported the performance beautifully. Zoe, an old school friend, spent an afternoon hammering bricks to give us the elegant touches of design that did so much with so little.
I am so proud of them all and grateful that they are my collaborators. I think this little passion project of mine could really end up being something and that’s only true because of them.
Here’s a photo of Sid. The actor. With some bricks. He didn’t smash those, but he smashed the performance. I can’t wait to see him up in Edinburgh as he melts into the role and owns it even more. What a send-off.
*(I’ve since found this quotation from a Lucy Prebble interview: “If you are a writer, watch your audience, not your actors. It will tell you the truth about whether you are telling the truth.” Always thought she was great.)