I’m such a mess. 30 years old and I’m sat here in my pyjamas at 12.29pm on a Tuesday. Except it’s not, cos the clock on my computer is 9 minutes fast, just to make sure I’m not late. Because I’m always late. It’s actually 12.20pm, which makes me feel a little better about still being in my pyjamas…. “At least it’s not 12.29pm and you’re still in your pyjamas,” I say, “ Now that would make me a loser.” I’ve already had two breakfasts, I’ve watched Ellen come out as gay on Oprah and I’ve cut my toenails… but God no, I haven’t had time to shower.
“I’m an artist,” I tell myself, “I bet Vincent Van Gogh wore his pyjamas all day long without a care in the world”…. I remind myself Vincent Van Gogh also drank his own paint. I decide to focus on the idea of nice, pleasant, sane artists in their pyjamas; I bet Jaqueline Wilson looks lovely in a nightie for example, Michael Morpurgo in a striped twinset… Olly Murs in a onesie…. And… It… WORKS! I feel f***ing FANTASTIC! Thanks Jaqueline…. As if Tracey Beaker wasn’t enough of an achievement…
The reason for the pyjamas, at, oh bugger… 12.22pm… Is that I’m filling out a ‘Grants for the Arts’ Application form. It’s basically like the Crystal Maze of word documents. It’s full of hoops that I have to jump through and I’m no ‘Crufts Champion’, ok well I was, but that was just once, back in the 90’s.
The Arts Council application is for a new play I’ve written about a gay footballer, ‘Studs’. I’ve just finished a weeks R and D on it. The whole week I felt like I had Geoffrey Rush from ‘Shakespeare in Love’ inside my head, when he says, ‘It’ll all be alright… then William Shakespeare (sexy, sexy Joseph Fiennes) says ‘How?!’… ‘I don’t know’ says Geoffrey Rush, ‘it’s a mystery!’
Being an R and D it was a haphazard affair; I was cashing in favours like they were going out of fashion, I sweet talked like I was sponsored by ‘Tate and Lyle’ and I brought enough Flat-Whites to sink an ocean liner… Everyone was working overtime and for free. The actors involved were real life telly stars… Actual famous people whose autographs go on sale on EBay… And here was muggins getting them to slog away for a whole week for free!!!! And what for?!?! The play had no ending, the actors were tired from trying to get familiar with the script and my inbox was full of people who couldn’t attend. It’s hard to keep your inner candle alight at those times. Theatre isn’t saving lives, it’s not reversing climate change or even helping stop the Ivory Trade… so why all the heart ache and stress?!
Because isn’t that just the most gorgeous thing about working in theatre! How the show must go on?! And how somehow it kind of does, work out alright on the night?!
You’ll suddenly see it; the actors make sense of the character in the most profound way (a way you never could have got to on your own), a techie presses some magic buttons and suddenly the work looks amazing, a movement director says something so simple- which unlocks the characterisation completely…. And I’m reminded, team work is why it’s worth it. When human beings work together, sharing a common goal; they can make the impossible possible. Last week everyone added his or her own unique light to the pot… and this meant we served up everybody’s glow, yes my friend, we served up a hefty portion of Collaboration- Soup. Generosity in all shapes and sizes is the most important ingredient to Collaboration-Soup, I think. And stories told with generosity are always the most delicious.
Right… I’m off to listen to John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ and have a third breakfast. I’m high on good vibes right now. I might even fly a kite or feed a stray cat or something…
The Application can wait until tomorrow… I don’t do pressure… I’m an artist!