D and I are sat in the Long Bar at the Sheffield Crucible, dressed in our best 'Press Night' outfits and brandishing free drinks. After wondering if L - the show's ASM* - has run off in fear of how we might behave after the free wine she finally emerges. Once we'e dispensed with the hugs and the well dones the inevitable question comes.
"So, what did you think?"
It's ok, D and I have prepared for this. I jump straight in.
"The acting was absolutely fantastic - all three of them, there wasn't a weak link"
Great this is just how it's supposed to go. D's turn now.
"And the set was brilliant -"
"It must have taken you ages to find all of that"
Yes, we're getting through this well. But it might need something else.
"And you never told us about Nigel Harman's bottom! It's incredibly pert"
D and I both swoon at the memory of the Harman's almost gravity defying bottom.
But the swooning means we're off guard.
"You didn't like the play did you?"
So much for our brilliant strategy, less than two minutes in and we've been busted. D and I exchange looks. We could lie or we could tell the truth. And L's our friend.
"Couldn't stand it"
Well done Corinne, that should do it.
"I hate Pinter"
On the much bigger level I'm rather pleased that D has uttered this sentence without my having unduly prejudiced him. On the smaller level though, it's Press Night for Pinter's The Caretaker, part of an unashamed Pinter fest** that the lovely Sam West**** is having between now and Christmas. But we can let that slide. We're not in ear shot of the Press. Or the lovely Sam West.
"I'm almost tempted to come the night that Pinter is going to be here and then throw things at his head for all the trauma that he's caused me"
There's a pause and I realise that I've said this outloud. I think this might be the last time I get invited to a Press Night. There's only one thing for it.
"Did we mention Nigel Harman's bottom?"
* Assistant Stage Manager. Hey, that's a proper footnote.
**The reason for the fest? That Pinter has decided not to write any more plays. And you know I'm celebrating this as much as the next person about this (providing that the next person had their head explode during a production of Old Times***) but a festival? Perverse is what I call it.
***It's a supreme irony that of all the Pinter plays I've seen (either on stage or on film) - and there have been a lot - I have singularly failed to see either The Dumb Waiter which I concede has a fantastic twist or Betrayal which I rather love (because it makes sense!). A cocktail to the first DA reader who spots a production of either of these that I can get to.
****He is lovely. I spoke to him on the phone once and generally saved his ass a (little) bit, something I was more than willing to do because of the fact he called me babe. If you hadn't realised, I'm easily pleased when it comes to actors.