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Butterflies zinging round my belly – Forgotten Things enters ‘week zero’ – a technical phrase – at the Edinburgh Festival

Submitted by on August 2, 2009 – 9:19 pmOne Comment
Photo credit: Tim Smith

Photo credit: Tim Smith

So. Blimey it’s been a frightening / exhilarating week. I had to wait, biting my nails, till this Friday to see the dress rehearsal.  I won’t bore you with the nervous twitching I went through between Monday and Thursday. But before we cut directly to Friday here’s my belated intro to the director and cast:

John Barber – Director:

He’s fab and incredibly multi talented (director, performer, puppet maker).  He’s taken Rod’s work and added new John bits, melding new ideas into the fantastic original, so its recognisable yet feels really fresh too.

The cast: Woody Murray, Jo Mousley, Steve Mosley and Simone Lewis:

Together they have worked so hard and with so much passion to bring the absurd, funny yet tragic world of the story to life. And in just 2 weeks! I salute them. See http://www.redladder.co.uk/bm/who-we-are/actors.shtml for more about their work.

So to Friday:  I arrive at the studio feeling very nervous.  I have heard the show is over running its arranged slot by 10 minutes. In Edinburgh that means the company gets fined by the venue!  There is talk of cutting text.  I am very determined that this will not happen but what if there is no choice?  I meet Rod (Red Ladder’s AD), John and the cast and crew.  We all grin at each other saying our happy hellos.  I feel like I’m fooling no-one.  I secretly wonder if novel writing would not be a less stressful route?  The cast sing me a song as part of their warm up.  They have set some of the words from the play to music.  I am a bit moved actually.  It makes me feel like a proper part of the gang.  It can be a bit lonely being the writer of a play.  You’re like a visiting aunt who everyone is fond of (if rehearsals are going well), but who no-one feels they can get drunk in front of. So they kind of welcome you into the rehearsal space but look forward to you leaving too!  I blink and suddenly the lights go down and we’re into the silence before the show begins. Will it be any good? Oh please holy mother of fandango a go-go! Please let it rock!’

But lets leave me there in that fearful darkness for one moment longer, because last week I did promise to let you know about the on going trauma surrounding my unfinalised accommodation situation for Edinburgh…

The good news about ‘Trundle’ the miniature caravan is that she at least now has some wheels ordered. The Bad news is that Jane’s Dad (Jane is my partner who I’m going to Edinburgh with) has got Trundle fear and has demanded that he look her over before Jane tows her anywhere. Which means he may notice the small issue of her broken brake. I know! But she does weigh less than the amount that legally requires one. Even so, that fact isn’t going to help Trundle pass ‘Dad Check’ is it? Keep your fingers crossed.

But lets get back to the rehearsal room. The show rockets in.  The characters have come alive and they grab you. A new thing zings – now the entire family is from Yorkshire not London. Freaky because now Lilly in places really sounds like how my Gran used to speak! Anyway, we zoom on. One moment I’m laughing the next I find myself wanting to cry even though I know what’s coming. And then I blink and the lights come back up… There’s a massive cheer! A mate of John’s tells him it’s the best bit of theatre he’s seen all year!  Later, John sends me a text to tell me that my writing reminds this mate of Joe Orton! I sit with my bedtime cup of tea grinning thinking about that!

Anyway.  We stop clapping. Rod tells John it rocks.  And you can see that John is so made up because it’s a scary thing to take over another directors work and make it sing true but also make it feel fresh, and he’s pulled it off.  We have a show!  And then Callum (the stage manager – more on him next week) shouts out ‘It’s 85 minutes long!’  No cuts needed.  Thank god… For a brief moment the whole universe seems at one. I remember why I love writing plays… and… then everyone’s talking about arrangements for the get in at the King Dome and I kind of realise that I’m getting under people’s feet.  So I say my thankyous and slope off.  It’s bittersweet moment to realise you’re work on a project is done. But now all I can do is cheer ‘go go gadget Forgotten Things’. Next stop Edinburgh!

Next week:

Meet the Forgotten Things Crew.

More Trundle: Is it curtains for the wendy house on broken wheels?

And not forgetting – behind the scenes at the Pleasance King Dome, a full frontal account of festival madness plus how the show is being received.

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One Comment »

  • Coming to see this at Halifax Em was a moving experience for me as you know. Not knowing the content and coming in blind was the right thing for me and having lost my only sister 3 years ago when she decided that her life wasn’t worth sticking around for meant there were more tears than there should have been – but for all the right reasons!

    I wish you all the best with its new outing, wish I could bob up to see it, and keeping fingers crossed that your talents are recognised and you bring back to Yorkshire the 18th Mayer-Whitworth Award for playwriting!

    Lots of love
    Alison xXx

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