Friday, June 21, 2013


I am on a train, sliding over hazy fields on my way down to London.

I went straight from school to the station, and after a touch-and-go moment involving a subway-to-platform lift (hyperbole. I just got in the wrong lift for a bit) I made it onto the North to South train. Once I sat down I was consumed by an amount of hatred I never thought I was capable of directing towards another human being. More specifically: a be-spectacled, be-suited, youngish man, jammed onto a table seat with three other hapless wayfarers. He looked like a normal, nice, person who would never knowingly kick a puppy, and yet he was doing something that, in my eyes, was totally unthinkable.

On his small patch of table he had carefully laid out a banquet of Burger King items. Nuggets. Fries. Barbeque sauce. A large Fanta (with straw). He was carefully selecting the nuggets one at a time and, after ceremoniously gilding them with sauce, masticating in a loud and thoughtful manner.

I was so angry. I tried tweeting about it but that didn't help. I tried narrowing my eyes at him (averting them quickly if I thought he was about to glance in my direction) but that just served to make me crosser.

Then I moved seats and lived happily ever after.

I went to get some coffee. The man in The Shop (capitals courtesy of Virgin Trains' inflated sense of self-importance) grinned at me, showing teeth that looked like hounds of hell.

"Don't forget to take your milk and sugar! Otherwise you'll be back here shouting at me."

"I wouldn't do that" I said. (Truthfully, I felt.)

"I wouldn't mind! I like my punishments, I do."

"Oh. Do you?"

"That's got you thinking, hasn't it?"

"Well, yes it has, to be quite honest."

"Well, I do. You've got to have some fun in this world, haven't you?"

"Yes. Yes you do. Thanks!"

So I have learned two important life lessons since being on this train:

1. People do annoying things (slurping processed meat on public transport) but sometimes all you can do is not let your head explode.

2. People will tell you anything if they're bored enough.


I did a sharing of my show, Bright Lights, on Tuesday. It went well, in spite of me fluffering some technological things due to nerves and sleep-deprivation. The audience were really generous and just waited for me to fix the bits that went wrong, like an indulgent parent (in a good way). They laughed in the right places, didn't in the wrong ones, clapped and cheered and said lovely things, whilst also giving excellent feedback. I am deeply relieved to have done it, and even more relieved to have just over a month before my full run at Edinburgh. I have to learn it inside out, tweak and practice, so that nerves and sleep-deprivation (both mainstays of the Fringe) don't result in more mistakes. I had such a lovely team, as well. I really noticed how, in the run up to the performance, my brain kind of ceased to function in a normal way. I couldn't think about anything practical: budgets or timings or general organisation (things I am normally pretty alright at nowadays). But Producer Rachel and Director Montse just spirited things out of my hands and left me to concentrate on existing. I woke up on Thursday (after a practically comatose day on Wednesday), did a day of teaching and then some admin, watched a bit of telly and felt my brain breathe. It was nice.

I am excited for Edinburgh. YES!


I am about to arrive in London. Rain is sluicing across the dusty windows but there is an interesting sense of possibility hovering above the fields. I am wearing flip flops defiantly. Life is A-OK, and I am nowhere near any nuggets.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Day Before The Day

I am sitting, tea precariously close to my furiously typing fingers, hair wet and butterflies clamouring in my stomach.

In an hour a van is coming to pick up my set and drive it to Contact, where we will start the day of technical rehearsals for the "industry sharing" of my solo show, Bright Lights. (I've put "industry sharing" in inverted commas because it sounds pretentious and I am operating under the delusion that the punctuation removes me from that slightly.) (I know it doesn't really.) It is perhaps worth pointing out that it is meant to be a theatre industry sharing, not just any industry. I'm not going to be performing to an audience full of steel workers, although I am sure they would LOVE IT (marketing).

I am very nervous. I have been pawing at my script, begging the words to go into my addled brain so that they can come out again at the correct moment.

Yesterday we filmed the trailer (marketing), which involved me photocopying my face. The resulting photocopy looked like one of those adverts about skin damage where they show previously healthy-looking faces and then turn on UV lights and everyone suddenly looks like a disconcerted Orc. I do not recommend it for self-esteem reasons, but heartily recommend it for general fun-based ones.

This week I have been rehearsing all day everyday. My director, Montserrat, has been putting me through my paces, beating me into submission when I am not working hard enough*. Producer Rachel has been diligently trying not to look at me too askance when I don't know simple answers to simple questions like "what's the hashtag for the show?" (marketing). Then the three of us have done little trips to Asda for high-carb, low-vitamin lunches to see us through the afternoon and into the evening. After rehearsals sometimes I have been allowed wine.

*This is not true, she has not raised a hand to me thus far. Tech rehearsals can be very stressful, though, so I will keep you posted.

This is Rachel and Montse with some well-deserved Pimms:

And me pretending to drink wine through a straw! Ha, ha, ha. I am so whimsical. Come to my show! (marketing)

Well, I had better go and eat some breakfast. Perhaps Nutella out of the jar and eight gallons of coffee. I am nervous.

Here I am about to go to a rehearsal! Looking coy like it's my first day of big school, not like a thirty-one year old professional woman about to go to work. Never mind. I felt more like the former, anyway.

Good luck to you all for my show! Now, can you all come and learn my words for me.

(Here I am with some Technology, which also features.)