Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting ready for Queen Jesus

I love being a visiting artist.

I love my little room above the theatre, just opposite the train station.

The theatre is above the Grand Central pub and in the old days used to be the dining room of the Grand Central Hotel, which is where I guess travelling salesmen used to stay on their way to sell vacuum cleaners or encyclopedias.

The theatre itself, The Nightingale, has a lovely feel to it, a warm kind of energy, and a wonderful flexibility that we intend to make the most of.

That's been one of our tasks in the past two days of rehearsal: to figure out how best to use it, the warren of fascinating rooms all around it, and the shutters which open up its beautiful windows.

Rehearsal has been happening in the Marlborough just down the road. This is another theatre above a pub, much older, a miniature proscenium arch space with a slightly sinister and seedy feel to it. We're rehearsing in what looks like the old saloon bar across the corridor with a beautiful bay window the sun streams through and which helps us, somehow, as we rediscover the text.

The pub down below is a gay bar where to be Lesbian, or Gay or Transgendered is the absolute norm. Which is one reason why when we have a drink there after rehearsal I feel so absolutely at home.

But then from the very beginning of being in a rehearsal room, all those years ago when I was still a boy, I have felt at home there. And I think about the extraordinary misfortune that led to the theatre becoming for me a forbidden space of shame and terror; and then the extraordinary good fortune that has led back there. Back home.

Today is tec day and dress rehearsal day and performance day all in one.

Bread-making day also. When I began typing this, the loaves were in the oven : the loaves I use for the communion ceremony at the end off the show.

Now I,ve taken them out, I can see they've turned out well.

A good omen.

(THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS QUEEN OF HEAVEN, at The Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, today and tomorrow)
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