Sunday, April 15, 2007

My friend the theatre critic Aleks Sierz once described to me the feeling of deflated ordinariness at having to go back to normal work after all the fuss surrounding the release of his seminal first book In-Yer-Face Theatre. Being flown round the world and having conferences held in his honour ended as quickly as it had started, and it was back to the bread-and-butter routine. He said that it made him realise why so many famous musicians turn to drugs. They just can't get used to living normal everyday life between gigs.

While I wouldn't say I'm feeling quite like that, his words have been on my mind since How To Disappear closed last night. It was a terrific send-off. The play was the best I had ever seen it; the timing was impeccable, every laugh and every gasp fell in just the right places, technical cues were all second-nature, and everyone had relaxed into their parts. The audience were in the palms of their hands. I've seen this before towards the end of a run, having been away for a time and then come back. The company suddenly seem to be 'wearing' the play, like a familiar comfy old jumper they've owned all their lives. It's gone from being mine, to being ours, to being theirs. It's a joy to behold. I was so proud of them all.

Anyone who's followed this particular play's history will know that this is the end of a long and at times emotional journey for its writer. I've talked at length about that elsewhere, but suffice to say that the same piece of work effectively ended my career, and then revived it again. It's been a rollercoaster of a journey, and one that's ended with neither a bang nor a whimper ... just that inevitable flatness. There is talk of a London transfer, but as nothing's signed and sealed, and not being one to count my chickens, I won't say any more at this stage. But given that even 18 months ago I thought I would have to do this play myself above a pub somewhere for no money, everything's a bonus.

I wish I had some pithy words of wisdom, or profound lessons to pass on from the whole experience. But the only one that springs to mind is - hang in there.

Anyway, back to work.

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