Our schedule for this day was pretty well thought out. We’d determined that all of us needed solo practice, that James and myself needed to go through a few bits with just the two of us, and that we’d need to do several more run-throughs in order to be comfortable.
At the same time, the technicians needed to do fancy lighting things, the stage needed to be built up, the cameras needed to be pointed properly and the piano needed to be tuned.
Miranda somehow cooked up a plan in which this could all happen and we’d still have time to eat.
I think she’s got a time-turner.
Anyway, we practiced, we ran-through, we ate, we painted our faces on, and at exactly 6:00 PM, after 21.5 hours of rehearsal, we were called to the stage to do Our Thing.
And so we did.
Now as I’ve mentioned, cameras were pointed at a stage. I have it on good authority that a video is in the process of being edited. I have no idea when or what it’ll look like – but I really have to get rid of my e-mail-checking compulsion before it arrives, because it’s starting to get unhealthy.
After performance, we invited the audience to ask us questions, and asked them questions in turn. It was generally agreed upon that the basic Idea we’d tried to stage had come across, that there was a myriad ways in which to expand on this – and, most importantly, that it was quite interesting already and would be very much more so after we’d had the chance to work on it properly.
Essentially, it was a resounding success.
It can be no surprise that our next stop was the pub.
I don’t exactly know how many bottles of wine were involved, but I’m sure it was at least five. Conversation went from one of our audience members’ desire to become a stage hand (her argument was that then she’d never have to audition but still see all the cool stuff. I think she was seven), the fact that Miranda had just successfully directed her first opera, and the really rather intriguing-sounding things James has written for piano in the past(because of course he’s a composer as well) and whether or not I’d have time to play them come November.
In the end, somehow the topic came to my being Dutch, and whether the Englishmen had noticed much that English wasn’t my mother tongue.
“Yes”, said Lila immediately.
“Oh,” I replied, slightly disappointed.
“You kept using the F-word.”
Now, during the weekend, whenever I felt I could do with some reassurance, I’d remember the progress we’d made, and I’d tell myself everything would be okay.
Or, more accurately, I’d tell myself “everything will be fine”.
As it turns out, an English person will only say this when: a. the house is on fire, b. they’re about to have a mental breakdown, or c. they’ve just found out that there is tonic in the house, but no gin.
So whenever I’d been gently calming myself down, I’d been driving the British people from the cast up the wall. Even worse, it was completely unintentional, which all of them knew – but that didn’t stop them from stiffening their shoulders just that tiiiny bit more whenever I said it.
And of course they couldn’t say anything about it, because that would be impolite.
I pondered this wisdom the next day, when I cruised back to Holland on the rosy clouds of exhaustion. I’m sure there’s some sort of moral life-lesson in there.
I’ll let you know when I figure out what it is.
Meanwhile, I’ve had a deeply awesome weekend in England, I’ve added a few grams of weird muscle to my hands, and I can confidently say that there’s a piece that no-one on the planet can play except for me.