About an hour before the show, I hid in the Jelly Belly bar clutching a vodka and diet coke, my script and trying to assume the expression of one who knows she looks like a wannabe four-year-old in that hat but that’s actually happening to someone else. The vodka helped, if not steady my nerves – vodka? Really? – then reassure me that at least we didn’t have press coming in like our sister show, The Dresser, over at the Baby Belly.
Approximately ten minutes before we gathered beds, straws and Beatrix Potter books and rigged the set, one of the nice boys from the Underbelly press popped his head round the door.
“Three Weeks have asked for a ticket,” he said, managing to be sweet and apologetic at the same time. “They know it’s your first day so I said they asked first. The only thing is they might not come back if they had to reschedule.”
We said yes.
We then realised one of the wings was too small and shunted the set around so that everyone had to do the play mirrored. This was fine up until I ended up doing some kind of absurd tango with Vivian’s IV pole, and my young doctor had to give her a clinical exam with the wrong hand. Nice.
The show was…odd. The amazing flyering done by everyone in their scrubs had obviously done the job: we only had six spare seats apparently. People laughed, a lot, but not always where we thought they would, but then audiences and casts don’t tend to agree very often. It seemed to go brilliantly, and there was lots of clapping and what looked like smeary trails down the cheeks of at least two smiling ladies in the second row.
We treated ourselves to two shows to celebrate, wangling whatever free stuff we could with our company passes. This backfired when we couldn’t get in to see a show called Greedy, which was sold out due to it’s having a reputation for being good. It also backfired when it meant we managed to get into see The Durham Revue, which also had a reputation for being very good, but unfortunately wasn’t. There was one boy who played Popeye in the show’s only slick, smart sketch, the rest had a lack of timing, direction and talent which was frankly bizarre. I know this sounds very mean, but it really was awful.
Afterwards we nipped along to see the House of Windsor, who we’d chatted up yesterday in the store room. Absurdist sketches, blissfully better than the Revue, with lots of deadpan camp about bears hibernating and Tim Henman.
This was all very good until we parted ways, I wen home, read for a bit, then realised that the only two people I actually know in the house and gone out to a cast dinner and forgot I was there. Ordinarily I’d have jumped in a cab and gone over, but I felt utterly disgusting after the show and it’s remained.
Basically, I spend an hour dying. The script is funny, it’s poignant, and the cast are brilliant. This doesn’t prevent the fact that I feel like I’ve lost someone everytime I do it properly. I know that’s unforgivably pretentious, but hey – this is Edinburgh. Also, because my character has so many bloody lines, I feel a bit like a prop who’s been brought in to perform, and because I’ve got that wig most of the morning til after the play, it makes me feel very self-conscious about flyering and also unavoidably stamped to the damned character. That got exacerbated when I got left behind at the house. I feel shaky, and ill and cried horribly and in short, feel like Vivian at her lowest – I just want to hide. I want to curl up into a little ball.