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Thursday, February 2nd

February 2, 2017

Okay, heads up. There will be no continuation of the story of Kay Holmes today. I need a good run at the next installment and I simply do not have time. No afternoon rehearsals tomorrow or Saturday, so the story will continue then.

Today is a mental health day. Not one I am taking off for the sake of my mental health, but one I am using to write about same.

As reported a few days ago, I decided the plug needed to be pulled on Motor Trade as it seemed highly unlikely that we would be able to successfully cast one of the lead male roles. There was a scramble by the co-artistic directors to find a replacement play. Last night I went out for dinner with one of these directors, who is also a good friend. Somehow over the course of our meal, I ended up agreeing to pick up the director’s reins again, go ahead with the auditions next week and just hope for the best. This, despite admitting earlier to said friend that I had actually been relieved when I thought the plug had been pulled.

I don’t feel up to it. Compared to some of the productions I’ve directed (twenty-two cast members, including a professional, in Inherit the Wind, three pantos with large casts, multiple sets, huge wardrobe requirements, musical numbers), this should be a piece of cake. Four cast members, one set. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. But I’m knackered.

Last year I went straight from directing the panto into directing the full production, a complicated, large-cast piece called What Glorious Times They Had about Nellie McClung and the members of the Political Equality League. The play turned out to be a huge success, but when it was over I felt like a wrung out dish rag. I needed Time Off. Then Dave came to me with his proposal to do an Alan Bennett one-act with Charlie. What fun, I thought. And it was. (Ergo persuading them to do it again this year.) It felt like my reward for knackering myself with two big productions. The cherry on the icing on the cake. (Not that I like maraschino cherries, but you know what I mean.)

I feel as if, by agreeing to go forward with the project I’ve stupidly robbed myself of much of the fun of working on and next month performing my own play. There is so much shit directors have to do before rehearsals even start. Find a producer, find a stage manager, work out the staging, et cetera, et cetera. Rehearsals start almost immediately after the one-act play weekend. I don’t want to be thinking about another play. I want to be able to savour every minute of the fun I’ve been having working on my play. Fun which will now be diluted with worry about the next one. Fuck. Why did I agree to do it? I’m not even on the board anymore, so I should be able to say “not my problem”, but somehow I can’t. I should have seen this coming.

Of course, all those months ago, when I first offered to direct Motor Trade so Dave (who’d originally offered to direct) could be in it (which he obviously wanted to do), there was no guarantee that Charlie would overcome his stage fright sufficiently to agree to do the play I’d written for us. In fact, I didn’t think he would. So, at the point I offered to direct, I didn’t know I’d be in one of the one-acts. (Also, I was still feeling very warm and fuzzy towards Dave for instigating the Alan Bennett and providing me with the most fun I’d had in a very long time.)

All right, what’s done is done. (As I write this it occurs to me that it was a dinner with the same friend that led to me directing the first of what turned out to be three back-to-back pantos. I think I need to stop going out for dinner with her.)

Once we get going, Motor Trade will be fun. The auditions will be held next Thursday. Que sera sera. I already know I will be working with two chums. It will be fine. The week after next there will be no rehearsals for my play. I will spend some of  that time working out the logistics for Motor Trade (whilst continuing to listen to the recording Charlie and I did). Then I will completely forget about it until after we’ve done our play. I will concentrate fully on the joy (yes, it really is beyond fun, it is joy) of working on my play.

Okay. Panic over. I have a plan. It will be fine. It will be fun. Breathe.

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3 Comments
  1. krysross permalink

    So, I’m looking for the connection to mental health here. Something to do with taking things on even when you don’t want to? Not being able to say no?

    • There’s a two part answer to those questions. The first is, as you suggest, coming to grips with the fact that I should have echoed Nancy Reagan and just said no. As annoyed as I was with myself for failing to do that, having agreed, I needed to figure out how the hell I was going to prevent the prospect of the next project from fucking up my enjoyment (well earned, if I do say so myself) of the current play. And I more or less did that – even if what I should really have done was a Nancy Reagan. 🙂

  2. Catherine stewart permalink

    Glad you worked through it and are looking forward to tons of fun. And I’m looking forward to more Kay stories. She sounds like an incredible woman.

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