I think my theatre sabbatical might be drawing to a close.
Over the past while I have been avoiding the theatre. I have skipped workshops – which occur on a weekly basis – with the drama group. I have been running from even the thought of writing any sort of play.
After a rather hectic year of dramatic excursions I was a bit worn out by it all. It can be so all-consuming and ravenous when it comes to your spare time, and so overwhelming in terms of the adrenalin in induces. This is offset by the exhilaration of seeing your play come to life on stage; or appearing in someone else’s piece. But sometimes you just feel worn out by the effort involved in getting stuff made. In this instance it may be better to take a step back and have a little break. You want to avoid creating an appalling yet irreversible situation – where you despise the theatre and the drama and the politics and the personalities; and want to abandon it for good.
I know I don’t want this to happen. I love the theatre almost as much as I love Jaffa Cakes. I want to keep it that way. Since February 2016, I’ve been a veritable whirlwind of productivity (assisted obviously by giving up Amsterdam specific herbs) – plays and performances and blog posts and newspaper articles and theatre festivals.
I was getting heartily sick of it all. After the last showcase in August I was wrecked.
So I stopped. And for two months I have done nothing.
It is most refreshing.
Now it seems like the sap may be rising again.
I’ve agreed to be the production manager on a new play called ‘The lovers’ guide to losing your mind’ which I am convincing myself will be a gentle and relaxed ride. There’s a production meeting this evening.
Last night I went to a reading of some new writing by other members of the group, where we could offer some feedback on the pieces. This is a delicate operation, as you want to be constructive and helpful, while at the same time remaining positive and supportive. Knowing how deeply personal it is to write a play, when you offer your labour of love up for public consumption, feedback – regardless of content or intent – can feel terrible.
Throwing it out for appraisal feels like you are abandoning your toddler on the Serengeti plains to fend for itself, hoping that it can survive on its own. It’s a necessary evil I know, but that doesn’t lessen the impact that criticism can have. I really hope my comments were taken in the manner I intended to give them. It’s just that on occasion that despite whatever intention is going through my head, I have the diplomacy of a sledgehammer – an accusation that my mother used to level at me.
If I carry on at this pace, before too long I may even put pen to paper to see what sordid tale I can come up with.
I am picturing a scene. It features a distraught middle aged Irish woman, mascara smearing her tear stained face, dressed head to toe in leopard-print jumpsuit, in a foreign prison… Visiting her, is her friend Carol – a vinegar-lipped harridan in sensible shoes and a cardigan – wearing a triumphant look on her face, as she coos ‘Oh Maureen, you poor woman. How awful for you. Banged up like an older Myra Hindley. Criminality must run in your family. It’s probably the manner in which you were raised.’
To be continued…