Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tour Diary Pt 6 Liverpool and Bristol

Dame Edna shoots from the hip

What a week!

"Boy in a Dress" pulled into Liverpool for our first show outside of London, at Unity Theatre. We were preceded by this article in the Liverpool Echo which although very pleasant, totally terrified me because it somehow made it all so real. Although we arrived the day before the show our get-in did not start until the following day and so we found ourselves in the nerve-wracking situation of teching practically until curtain up. There are so many lighting cues and sound cues, and so many details to attend to every time the set is built, that it is often unavoidable that we are wildly behind schedule, but onstage I felt distracted and overwhelmed, not to mention anxious about performing in my home town. In spite of the pressures, I think we pulled it off, the Liverpool Daily Post certainly thought so, saying the show, "crackles with good writing and fascinating stage craft."

5 of our 9 team members en route to Liverpool

As the originator of the work I have always felt a profound responsibility for it, for every element in fact. I could never help thinking that an audience would blame me personally any missed cues, mis-set props or lighting errors. Moreover I realized that the delays and the stress, the inevitable squabbles and the ever extending hours were actually disabling me in my performances. When we were focusing lights for a day and a half or spending twenty minutes to correctly pan a ten second sound cue, I recognized I was depriving myself of what I needed to deliver a good show, and distracting myself with somewhat extraneous details. The costumes, the lights and the set design are all beautiful and take the show to the next level aesthetically and professionally, but for me (selfishly perhaps) they are the icing on the cake not the cake itself. So I chose to focus on the victoria sponge beneath, the text, the story, the heartbeat and since making that decision I have felt so much more empowered and in control, in short able to do what I am good at doing, and not to spend each show fretting about whether the wardrobe doors close or if the playback will be loud enough.

The Bristol Old Vic

Bristol was such different story, the Old Vic is really the most amazing building, it's the UK's oldest working theatre and is just beautiful. (The whole city is gorgeous, but the theatre is just beyond). The performance space was wonderful to be in, the acoustics were great and the team running it made our three shows a joy. Erin, Ed and I delivered three knock-out shows, we were focused, we connected and we had the audience captivated all three nights. It was a genuine pleasure to perform there, and I think really proved that the show has a audience excited to see it, and a very diverse one at that. Twitter has been abuzz with reviews, reblogs and compliments, and the sales speak for themselves. Next up is Manchester, where I'm hoping for a similar smash!

An absolute tart

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