Monday, July 30, 2007

All over bar the bar bills

So it's all over - the rehearsals, the publicity, the week of the play spent in town from morning till night and living on peanuts and wine, and the frantic get-ins - the fifteen mad minutes between the last show getting out and our audience moving in, in which the furniture for the set must be whisked from behind a screen and placed on stage, the stage marked out with tape, the video and camera for the media element of our show set up, gaffer tape slapped down on the leads in case the actors or the audience went and broke their necks, and the programmes laid out, all before Front of House called down and demanded clearance and the audience filed in... And falling asleep on the bus and then waking at five in the morning with the thought of all I had to do - emails, phone calls and printing - before I had to jump back on the bus into town and the whole thing started again... and of course, a whole week of grabbing as many as I could of the other amazingly diverse shows.

Two and and half months of solid hard work to realise a play I wrote in days! Can't say it exactly compares with radio where it's all done for you, where the publicity machine is huge, and the audience, without any trouble to the writer, thousands. And our slightly sniffy review from Natalie Anglesey in the Manchester Evening News was a bit disheartening, and it was hard not to see this as contributing to the fact that our houses, which began comparatively large, dropped thereafter.

But there are other ways of course that theatre and radio don't compare: with theatre there's that live adrenalin buzz, and above all, for me, the special ability of theatrical magic to tackle my particular thematic interest: the nature of identity. And on the last night UK Theatre Network dropped in and the next day gave us a really nice review, which, if too late to boost our audiences again, was lovely.

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