The Bank Holidays made me stop. To work through the last opportunities for a break, to shun the sunshine when everyone else was downing tools, that would have been unproductive. Enforced rest is good – I am not good at doing it for myself. Like the sick feeling you get when staring down from a height – I can’t actually count the number of days we have left. It’s all too scary. So the pressure to produce means I think, do and worry a lot. If I am not at least worrying a strange kind of guilt trigger fires and I hop about trying to tackle things when I should really just rest. This can mount up to the point where I suffer a kind of generalised anxiety about every aspect of the project without being able to focus on a single one. Leading by example then becomes tricky. Work harder than anyone else, sure- but worry LESS!
So after three days of late mornings, garden sun and slow roast dinners that I do now feel able to reflect on where we are. On casting Sunday. 10 minutes before we were due to start there are 7 people – anxiety is almost unbearable – where did we go wrong – how can be me more appealing…. ?? In the end it’s a really good afternoon – a cast of 24 and a choir of 40 show up and sign up. Brilliant. Relax – a little.
Choir have been gathering on Mondays and then Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons the cast form a circle for rehearsal meet ups. Faces old and new: Carrie the outreach worker – who knows and feels the area; Andy the guy from the flat downstairs; Fi – back with her sax and ready to act this time. Not since school …
I love the diversity of people that find their way to the Common Lot. My anxiety lessens more because I know this bunch of people are prepared for the journey and by the ease with which they show bravery, excitement, and support for one other. Unique shared experience and unlikely new friendships are being forged in the pressure cooker of making theatre together.
They know we are still drafting and redrafting script, sorting technical issues, dealing with ensemble casting, worrying about a hundred other things. Still they show faith and openness. I hear myself saying “We will get there – because we always do!” and as I say it I believe it – like an old muscle twitching again. Anxiety is tempered in the will and belief of others.