Thursday, February 24, 2005

Those Bloody Kids

Those Bloody Kids

Prior to last night's show I was rather helpfully filled in [read scared-to-death] by Mike [Techie Extraordinaire] on a variety of things which had gone wrong on the technical side of SSoB, that I had been blissfully unaware of - mainly because it must have been decided that I'd have had a cardiac arrest. I let Mike enjoy scaring me, and was somewhat pleased that he asserted that the doorframes wouldn't fall off again. He couldn't be quite as sure about the projector, however, and I'm officially going to start praying every time it has to be used. On the plus side I did get tips from him about camping in the snow; though how useful knowing about the igloo effect is going to be is questionable.

I should have guessed at this point that something was going to go squiffy, and I subsequently spent the entirety of the first act thinking that I was going to vomit. The reason for this was that Jay suffered something of a memory black out, skipped a good page and a half of dialogue and left the room to answer the door to Will long before he should have done. Cue Will not being there and Jay having to come back in and say 'No one there!', before the doorbell rang approximately ten seconds later and Will finally emerged. Normally I'd have been in something of a state of terror at this but it was only heightened by the fact that I was hugely aware that the Dean of Oriel was in the audience, and was going to be chairing the post show discussion. Racing through my brain as I attempted not to vomit was the pressing refrain - bloody hell, I hope he doesn't think that I wrote that. Consequently we got the most pissed off Jay that we've ever had, though his description of his realisation of what he'd done after the show was hilarious. My brain will forever have the image of him biting his knuckles and wanting to blame 'bloody kids' for the non-existent knocking on the door imprinted on it. I did feel sorry for him given that he never messes up. If you're going to do these things though, you might as well do them in style.

After the show I had my first experience of being pissed off with an audience member. And, unfortunately, it was an audience member that I know. In many ways I'm glad that the Graduate came along, bringing friends with him and paying for tickets is always going to endear people to me. What I didn't need was i)him laughing incredibly loud at an incredibly serious moment in the play [indeed in what Cristina and I have decided is the best scene in the production] and ii)him coming up to speak to me afterwards and the only acknowledgement he made about the play being that some of the actors had been getting Jay and Harry mixed up. The first one made me want to thump him as it really broke the mood and the second one annoyed me as not only wasn't it true [I know every single word of SSoB, every performance I know when something gets changed or goes wrong and whilst there were mistakes last night, that wasn't one of them] but also because when one of your friends has had her first ever play put on you don't rabbit on about some meaningless pedantic mistake. I'm assuming that he didn't like the play, which is fair enough as I once told him he was a shit actor [in my defence i)he is ii) I phrased it more nicely than that and iii)it was several months after the event and not on the evening of his show], but I'm sure that he could have found something - anything - to say was good or that he enjoyed. He also tried to involve me in a conversation about him - which is also fair enough, but not ten seconds after SSoB has finished. Not that I'm being self-obsessed here [though I am] but the thesp code of conduct is that it's all about the person whose show it is. Or at the very least it is until you get out of the auditorium.

In the end I got my required ego stroking from the post-show discussion. We ended up having a really interesting talk, I got to enthuse about Will and the Dean of Oriel had lots of ego-inducing things to say. We also ended up talking about what happens to the characters after the play finishes, and it was especially interesting to hear what the actors had to say, even though I did have a couple of disagreements. In some ways the play has maybe come full circle for me. When I first wrote it I saw an incredibly positive streak running through it. Then , especially during early rehearsals, I saw something altogether darker. Now, the more I see it and talk about it, I see something much more positive emerging. I'm genuinely starting to think that maybe they're all going to be ok. Which is nice, as I'd feel guilty otherwise.

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