The approach of performance is like waiting for a guest to arrive that you don’t know very well.
Politic Man is to be performed for a tiny fifteen minutes at the Cockpit Theatre on Monday 13th October. It will be seen amongst other new writing as part of their Theatre in the Pound initiative. The importance of at last seeing the beast emerging from the page which, up until now, had been a private relationship between me and the characters is soon to be tested before an audience. Not for the first time I ask myself why do I do this?
It may as well be a trilogy lasting all day. The work for an extract takes up as much time as a full length production. A room to rehearse in; a room to audition the potential cast; producers to invite. And then the rehearsals, the preparation, the line learning and – if we’re very lucky and find these for nothing – props and costume for all. A World War One RAMC uniform for Thomas Salter for example. Anyone?
Casting takes place on the 26th September at Make Believe Arts. in Deptford. I have two or three Thomases to see; two or three Alfreds and at the moment a couple of Isaac Halls. He was the Conscientious Objector who was tortured for his beliefs while in prison. When Alfred goes to see him, he is shocked at the man’s appearance. “His face was ashen, pale lips.” and furious and despairing of the system that had allowed this treatment.
In my head, a conversation loops round between me and Mr Producer who is invited to attend.
Producer: I really enjoyed that.
Me: Thank you.
Producer: Yes, really great. Well done.
Me: So………..are you in a position to………shall we arrange a meeting….?
Producer: Well….not really my thing you know. Try the Bush
Me: Done that.
Producer: Theatre 503 may be interested. Do you know them?
Me: Yes. Done that too.
Producer: Have you thought about turning it into a Musical?
Me: No, not really.
Producer: Well. Good luck with it.
To answer my own question to myself. I do it because it must be done. There are things that must be said. And they are in the mouths of the characters such as Isaac Hall.
“Dr Salter. I know I am weak in my body but my soul is not weak. In my soul I know I am right. Thank you Doctor. You were good to come.”
In my soul, I believe in the power of theatre. Even if it is just fifteen minutes of fame.