Ready to go on

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Wednesday - modern art

The guest house I am staying in in Edinburgh offers breakfast at 'any time between 8.15 and 9.00' so I was a bit flummoxed. I opted for the second sitting at around 8.59. Poached egg and kippers with toast, coffee and fruit juice. Delicious.

It snowed last night in Scotland so everything was crisp and bright and white this morning. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. For some reason, I had completely wiped from my memory the fact that it is near the coast and that from Princess St you can see the sea estuary and, beyond that, the mountains, which this morning were snow capped. We, my wife and I, met up with my friend David and set off to explore hidden Edinburgh. And it was very hidden. A deep ravine running right through the heart of the city with a path next to it that you could only get to via steep steps down from the street. Most passers by wouldn't notice it but from the bustle of the city we found ourselves by a peaceful river in seconds and followed the river for a mile or so to the back of the modern art gallery,.

I used to hate modern art. 'Anyone could do that!' I thought. But they didn't, did they? The artist did it. I now really enjoy the danger, bizarreness and daring of much of it and feel rather foolish that I was once so dismissive towards it.

I do feel rather detached from the play so far this week. It is difficult to feel completely involved at the best of times because, as I've said before, I have so little to do in it and only come on right at the end. As I write, sitting on my bed in my guest house, the rest of the cast are already twenty minutes in to the play. I won't go along to the theatre until the interval, at about 3.30, and even then I will have plenty of time to get in to costume and get ready for my entrance.

On top of my normal sense of detachment, my wife is here with me and I, naturally, would rather spend time with her. Consequently I shall pop along to the theatre, do my scene, then rush back here and get ready to go to dinner before doing the same again at about 8.45. That will be my two shows today. It's not Hamlet, is it? And, yes, they are paying me for this. Deservedly, I think? I do my scene well and someone has to do it. I'm completely focused on it when I do it, but with all the shows I've done in the past I find that the amount of time it takes me to be ready to go on has diminished. I used to let plays dominate my life, indulgently claiming that I couldn't really do anything else because I had a performance to give that night. Having children soon knocked that out of me. You have to find the energy to live a normal life and then do the play. I suppose if I were playing one of the great roles, Lear or Hamlet or a massive musical role, I would have to conserve my energy in order to get through it, but I find that, even when you feel tired, you find the energy from somewhere once you go on stage.

So, despite staying up drinking wine and chatting till 1.30, getting up at 8.00 for breakfast, walking all over the town and visiting an art gallery, I should imagine I will be fine this afternoon once I get on stage. All I have to do now is avoid falling asleep on this very comfy bed once I've written my blog. TWO HOURS LATER AWAKES WITH A START AND THE WORDS, "Shit, who turned my phone off?"


  1. I didn't fall asleep and made the show with plenty of time to spare. Sadly, during my scene, a television interview that is watched by the audience as a television piece on screens psread throughout the auditorium, my camera failed! I had to switch from a small televisual performance to a much larger stage performance. Good fun, actually. And I still got some laughs. x

  2. There must be a definition of 'good fun' of which I was previously unaware! Sounds scaaaary to me, Mike, but glad you got some laughs. Sophie xx