Monday, July 30, 2007

Some times theatre is about Shakespeare and cocktails and pretty dresses. And some times it isn't.

Some times theatre is about Shakespeare and cocktails and pretty dresses. And some times it isn't.

We are ten minutes into the interval, the temperature has dropped to such an extent that the only way we are managing to keep warm is by jumping up and down and hugging the tea urn [not, obviously, at the same time], and the queue for hot drinks streches across the Abbey. Predictably with this being a touring theatre company one of the urns has broken, reducing my own first half drink to tepid mulch. Old Friend and I are in a rhythm with the second urn though and I reckon that, give or take the Ladies' Toilet queue, the interval will finish on time. This pleases me. I am obsessive compulsive about interval timings. It's one of the things that makes me slightly anal as a Duty Manager.

The first that I know that something is wrong is when I notice the mounting pile of drinks waiting to be poured. I look at Old Friend.

"There's no water left".

I look from the urn to the unpoured drinks to the waiting queue and back again with something approaching horror. There is only one thing for it.

"Give me a second".

I leave the bar area and break into something which properly resembles running. Or as close to actual running as I will ever get, stunted as I am by Abbey ruins, audience members and my own inability to run.

I realise when I get to the boys changing rooms that I have never been in them before; it amuses me - even in this moment of FoH panic - that there is a sign saying 'Project Manager' on one of the doors. Such is the glamour of theatre that they are changing in something that once stood on a building site.

I stick my head into the Project Management room. I am greeted with something that looks like there has been a 16th century explosion; men in tights are perched on every available surface. There is even, to my joy, a lute precariously balanced. If it were not for the mounting queue back inside the Abbey I would be loving this moment. I mentally reproach myself for losing track when confronted with such fangirl worthy things. As I survey the room I notice the item of my search in Oliver's hands.

"Can I borrow your kettle?" I ask. And, because this probably needs some explaining since it is their kettle, and it is my interval and I should not be stood here, "The urn has broken down".

It is probably a mark of this being outdoor theatre that the situation is greeted with the horror it deserves rather than the odd looks it would get in any other dressing room.

"But I was going to come and get you to smuggle me a tea" Stage Manager says from the floor.

"I'll see what I can do" I say, aware as I say this that I have already used some of my precious hot water on giving C free coffee.

"I've just boiled it" says Oliver as he hands the kettle over.

"Perfect" I say, turning round the second it is in my hands. "Thanks" I yell back just as I realise that I have boiling water in my hands and probably shouldn't be running with it.

It is just as well that I've made that connection as I find Former Soap Star sitting on the steps to the exit and have to step over him. It is times like this that I feel my life is almost unbearably surreal.

Finally back at the bar I hold out the kettle.

Somehow I suspect that this is going to be a long interval.

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