Old Vic 3.12.18

A good day at Oasis, Brislington (not a spa but a school). I had to cover maths tests all day. So I made them work in silence while I read Lord of the Flies.

Now back on my seat in the upper gallery at BOV watching the actors rehearse for ‘A Christmas Carol’.

It’s a bit different from last time: actors are going through their final preparations on the stage. There’s a guy doing breathing exercises while his legs are spread apart and he slowly brings his arms over, followed by a sort of tai chi move where he holds his hands in front of him and moves his hands in parallel from one side of his body to the other. Meanwhile another guy in 3/4 length trousers and braces over a singlet practises singing making braying and gurgling sounds. Curtain up in just over an hour. And now they’re all on stage. 8 or more people doing exercises- down dogs, headstands, stretches. Peter O’Toole started his career here in 1958 and came back here after he was a Hollywood star to play Hamlet 1973-1974. I can’t imagine him doing a down dog before the show. He’d be polishing off a bottle of Moët. Apparently one of his receipts here revealed he’d spent £2500 on wine in one go.

And now Tom, the director, wanders nonchalantly among his actors – the hunter with his hounds – giving final bits of advice to the man doing Tai Chi.

Well, it’s more eventful, that’s for sure but I still feel like a spare part. For whatever reason it just seems like that not many people are coming for the Heritage Experience and it’s unclear really what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m not sure if sitting..

oh they’re doing a team hug – someone is saying ‘we’re fucking brilliant and don’t forget: Twinkle! And they all say ‘twinkle’. It’s no doubt a great word. And a great motivator? Yes. You will be seeing more of that word. Twinkle.

Tom is sitting down and they have a fantastic large bird with a long flowing neck made out of paper. 3 people carry it and it gently glides down to him and feeds from his hand.

A lovely final direction to the 3 people carrying the bird revealing some of the skill of a director: ‘OK, remember if you lose focus take time to refocus and reconnect. The audience will stay with you.’ And suddenly they’re off stage. Silence. Both curtains down and 35 mins til  curtain’s up. I’m still up in the highest seats in the theatre, unobserved and unnoticed.


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