Copyright© 2011 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
I didn’t quite fall asleep face down in my dinner, but I did nod off while waiting for it. Thankfully, Jenny and Julie dealt with the two little ones, I put my elbows on the table rested my head on my forearms and zonked.
In the end I didn’t eat anything, Simon moved me on the chair to the end of the table and they left me to sleep while they ate and drank, so he told me later. I was an object of amusement—nothing new there—of the other restaurant users, but none of the staff had the authority to ask me to leave—in some ways, It might have been better if I had—I could have gone home and slept in a bed; instead of which I lay with my head on the table giving me a lovely mark across my cheek and a headache.
I was woken to get in the minibus to go home and woke up during the journey. I did wonder if it would prevent me sleeping that night, but it didn’t. I had some tea and a slice of toast and went to bed. I was something of a wet blanket for the boy’s Father’s Day celebration—but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
The next day was the first of the play’s actual run and Julie finished work early to help with the makeup and hair. She’d done mine at home before we left, hair that is. Did my own makeup and felt like swallowing some insecticide to sort out the butterflies that were flitting round my digestive system.
I sat sucking a peppermint and feeling sick. To say I felt nervous would be an understatement. It was rumoured that the mayor, the local MP and lots of other worthies were amongst the two hundred plus audience. Given they were sitting on hard wooden chairs—they must be keen.
Finally it was time for the off and some pipe music warned the punters that we were starting. I stayed in the ‘green room’ back stage until I was needed. My stomach was more active than a gymnast on ecstasy, however, I managed not to be sick.
Then I was on stage, and I couldn’t see anything beyond the lights at the front of the stage—I went on to autopilot and did what had been schooled into me over the past umpteen weeks.
At the interval—given so the punters could allow their bums to wake up—and allowing us to have a cuppa or something stronger if we wanted. I settled for tea although I was buzzing like a wasp in bottle.
My sleepwalking scene went reasonably well—I remembered all the lines and the stage directions. Although there were others on stage at the time—two sixth form girls playing ladies in waiting—I felt very alone and with the lights lowered, I could see a mass of people but no faces. I tried to pretend they were all dormice but it did unnerve me for a second or two.
I did my scream offstage for the suicide and went off to have a drink of water—I was soaked in sweat—I hoped they could dry clean the costumes or after a couple of shows, we are going to smell authentic.
I’d managed to keep my accent throughout—reminding myself that I was a native Scot—well I was born there if you remember, and my ancestors were Scottish, so I felt validated. I listened to the shouting and the clash of the steel of the swords—it was carefully choreographed to look dangerous but it was reasonably safe and the blades wouldn’t cut butter. If you remember, Macbeth runs off stage pursued by Macduff who returns with his head. Instead of the cheapo cabbage in a sack job, we had a fake head which looked sufficiently like Iain to do the job.
The play ended and the lesser players lined up, then the likes of Banquo and Macduff, finally, Iain and I strode to the front—he bowed and I dropped a deep curtsey first to the house, then to him and he reciprocated with a deep bow to me. We then reprised the bow/curtsey to the house. The noise of the applause was deafening and when Gordon came up on stage and joined us in a bow, the noise grew louder again.
The curtains closed and Julie came rushing over to hug me—“You were brill, Mummy—absolutely wicked.” She hugged me again.
Iain came over and kissed me. “Are you sure you’re not a pro?”
“A pro-ecologist, yeah; actor—no; if I was, why was a shitting myself for two hours?”
“A real pro—but the buzz is good isn’t it, that only comes from a live audience,” he added. “Right get changed, we’re off to the pub.”
“D’you mind if I don’t, I’m shattered.” I whined and Julie flashed me a dirty look.
“Come on ladies, over to the pub—hurry please first drink is on me,” said Gordon. He kissed me and said, “You were very good, my dear, very good. Buy the paper tomorrow, the critic liked it.”
“How d’you know?” I asked.
“He said so, oh, that Billington bloke was here from the Guardian, he looked contented too.”
I agreed to go for one drink—I was driving—so I made it a soft one. Julie had a buck’s fizz. There were toasts to the actors and to the director and to Sister Maria, who came over to me afterwards and thanked me.
“We took a thousand pounds tonight, and that’s profit. We have five more to go, so we should clear six thousand by the weekend. We’re also squeezing in another fifty seats because the demand for tickets is astonishing—we were sold out in minutes—it’s like a Take That concert.”
“I suspect people pay a bit more for one of their tickets,” I suggested.
“Yes, well more fool them, you’re infinitely better value than a pop group.”
“Dunno,” interrupted Julie, “I wouldn’t mind seeing Robbie an’ the boys live—better than this ol’ trout,” she laughed and stepped back before I could slap her, almost knocking someone’s drink out of their hand.
“Crikey, I have to that another five times?” I gasped—I was loving it really, my head and body were still buzzing—I’d never get to sleep tonight.
“That’s what it’s all about, Cathy, raising money for our hardship fund.”
“Yeah, I know—I expect I’ll manage to last the week.”
Gordon and Iain approached me, “We have a chance of putting this on at the Mayflower, next week—they’re short of a programme, some tenor has cancelled with laryngitis. Are you up for it?”
“I’ll have to think about it—um.”
“Look, Cathy, they need an answer tonight—think of the experience of doing it at a proper theatre—and for the girls—it’ll be an amazing experience. They’ll pay expenses—that’s all I’m afraid—they’ll only have a few days to market it. Go on, live dangerously,” he exhorted.
“Yeah, go for it, Mummy.”
“Which night is it?”
“Saturday, so you won’t be teaching.”
I looked at Julie and she was nodding vigorously.
“I must be a complete idiot, but okay, I’ll do it.”
“Yes,” said Julie pumping the air and Iain nodded and winked.
“I’m glad ye said yes, we’d hae had tae cancel wi’oot a Lady Mac.”
“You mean if I’d said no, it wouldn’t happen?”
Jeez, I held the fate of the whole cast and crew in my decision—had I known, I’d probably have had to run to the loo and been sick.
We drove home, both of us still buzzing—Julie was part of the team and enjoyed it.
“Whose car is that?” she pointed to the Land-rover in the drive.
“Gareth’s,” I said and my tummy churned.
“Does that mean Auntie Stella’s home with Fiona?” she asked gleefully.
“We’ll find out in a moment,” I replied parking next to it.
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