Hello Peeps - hoping all are doing okay today.
Tonight I listened to a talk by Kendall Feaver talk about her writing. It was very interesting. Sharing her process and also reminding listeners of the well trodden rules - give every actor a part, and find the comedy in the dark moments etc. It is always good to hear writers talk about how they write for the stage.
Both of my parents spent a lot of their spare time on the stage, which gave me a bird's eye view of acting, directing, the smell of backstage, the tensions, the prompts, the glorious leads knocking it out of the park. As I was 'dragged along' to trips to London to see shows. It all started to rub off on me.
It makes me sad that we have missed almost two years of live performance. Well, most of us. Thankfully, plays have returned properly since the end of lockdown. Somehow, most of the theatres have scraped by - no thanks to the government. Some have sadly closed.
Plays are not my first love. TV is for sure. Then film. I have always preferred to go and see a stand up comic than to watching a play. I'm not going to lie. I do love both. But if I had to choose. But both share that feel of taking part in a shared experience. Both are good times out. Something to look forward to, to live through, to talk about afterwards. The good ones changing course of the participant - ever so slightly.
I remember before the pandemic, taking my son to the Arts Theatre, Cambridge, to see The Lady Vanishes (which was superb). I have not been since, as I have been ill as most of you know. And now, having watched a lot of TV and Film at home, I am yearning to go back to the theatre.
To sit in the slightly curved seats, velvety, which smell of coats and wine. To watch the people arrive around me and settle, rustling bar snacks and balancing programmes on their knees. But more than anything, to feel alive and part of something. A commonality. Connecting with those around me, jointly sharing the performance. And to watch those commanding performances, which transport you so successfully away somewhere else. Performances that hit you like a train. Performances that make you feel human, fragile, strong, excited, sad, different, that make you think.
My mother always used to insist on sitting in the front row. She used to want to get as close as possible to the action. As a small child, I objected to being spat on by the more enthusiastic actors, or having to look up the nostrils of a more mature performer. And then, there was the neck ache. But now, I crave it. I have been looking carefully at the Arts Theatre programme, ready to pounce on some tickets.
I have delved into playwriting myself, a little. I had a couple of short plays on in past years. One at the Corpus Christi Theatre, and one at the ADC. Both in Cambridge. I am polishing a play at the moment. Though I suspect it will languish in my metaphorical drawer for a long time yet, before I am ready to share it with the world.
If you are going to the theatre this weekend, then I am truly jealous. I wish you the best time, and it won't be long before I am sitting in those seats again.