19 November 2010

There's no business like show business!

I am finally surfacing from my “euphoria hang-over”…

Last night was opening night for the Music Hall. It was fantastic! We had a super audience, who all seemed to being really enjoying themselves. Their positive energy really inspired us to do our best. Lovely when that happens!

There’s an old superstition in the theatre, if you have a stellar opening night, the rest of the run is fated for disaster, I hope this time the legend doesn’t prove true. I actually think we will continue to settle into our parts, really relax into them, and enjoy them.

The entire run of the show (this weekend and next weekend) sold out weeks ago, as the Music Hall has a faithful and dedicated audience. It’s incredible to witness and experience that level of support. And, honestly, you can feel the good will in the air. You can feel the audience willing you, wanting you to succeed.

Of course, I’m not naïve enough to think that every audience, or even every person in it feels that way. There’s always at least one “Incredibly Unimpressed Sour-puss” in every bunch. Thankfully, for us, the sour puss didn’t materialise last night!

I have said before that Barford seems an incredibly talented village, and maybe every village feels that way. Nevertheless, I am staggered by the level of skill and ability. Especially the gift of comedy. English humour, even the so called ‘low variety’, is an art form.

A few weeks ago, some very dear friends of mine from my old parish in New York came to London to celebrate their honeymoon. The DEB and I went down to London and took them for lunch in Covent Garden.

That was an incredible day, actually. Perfect weather and London being London in the background. Our favourite café in Covent Garden is the one where the performers busk while you’re eating. We’ve seen some very good acts there, mostly classical instrumentalists and singers. On the other side of Covent Garden, there is a courtyard that often plays host to jugglers, dancers and comics. On the day we were there, there was a guy juggling chainsaws … whilst riding a unicycle … wearing only a pair of fuchsia underpants. “The height of British culture,” my friend, John, said with a mighty guffaw. “More than you realise!” I chirped.

After our lunch at Covent Garden, we took a tour of The Banqueting House in Whitehall (designed by Inigo Jones, remarkable ceiling by Rubens) and rounded the day off by attending Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral – beautiful.

All that seems ages ago now, and I don’t know how we had time for it with rehearsal taking over our lives as they have! It has been worth it though. It was a joy to be on stage last night. And, to feel proud of the hard work I’ve put in. Especially these days when I have been feeling a bit low (after Lucy) and a bit down about my (relatively non-existent) career/work prospects.

The Music Hall has given me a real focus over the past few weeks. It’s been nice to have something to “get on with”. And get on, we have. Rehearsals have been quite full on, and hopefully that shows in our performances. We’re all really exhausted, but during the show it’s an amazing feeling, an incredible high, like nothing else in the world!

The DEB has really come into his own, and it has been so wonderful to watch him flourish as a comic actor and music leader. And, although I have a bit of a reputation for being fearless, I must confess I am very, very proud of myself for having the guts to face down “Don’t Tell Mama”. Greater performers than lowly me have flinched and wilted at the prospect!

Taking a leaf out of Beyonce Knowles’ book, I have to have a quiet word with myself in the loo before each performance. Though I haven’t gone as far as creating a ‘stage persona’ to assume to accomplish the brassy task.

Backstage at Wembley, Beyonce channels her alter ego, Sasha Fierce to steel her courage for her amazingly provocative performances. By contrast, I stand, freezing, in the dimly lit dressing room loo of the Barford Village Hall, sipping a cup of hot lemon water. I look myself in the eye, and call myself up short: “Look. Just go do it.”

Beyonce was also a source of inspiration for my costume. A more modest (?) version of this:


Sue Doran said...

Break a leg! ;-)

Victoria Plum said...

I would do ANYTHING to be able to come to Barford tonight and see you and DEB do your cat and dog sketch ... it sounds BRILLIANT!! Spoke to Mum earlier today and she was raving about how wonderful the show was. Maybe you could get someone to film it and stick it on youtube?!

Break a leg for tonight!!

Almost American said...

And when will you be posting photos of yourself in your Beyonce-inspired costume? ;-)