Well as you can see I didn't get around to blogging while in Liverpool for rehearsals, partly because my head was so full by the end of the day that even this kind of mild cogitation was beyond me and I craved a cold beer, a plate of something precision-engineered for the microwave, and the cricket highlights. The night before I sent the final, final text off to the printers I had to burn the midnight oil and it was very hard going, I must say. Sitting in my little flat with all sorts of distracting thoughts swirling around my head I nonetheless, amongst other tasks, had to search for a substitute name for a merchant ship mentioned in the play. I had called it The Western Approaches but Alisa correctly called me on this, saying that people would be confused because wasn't that the name of the fleet headquarters? I eventually found a good replacement, but by bedtime I was proper beat. The rehearsal room, if it's run properly and it is, is the most creative of times for a playwright, up there with the eureka moments of the very early days of a play. In that room, minute by minute, ideas and memories are aired to the group, energies are crackling, the words begin to sing. What were 'lines' are now living things, accompanied by flashing eyes, or low authoritative brows, or a telling twist of the wrist, or a giveaway catch in the voice. During a break there are people swapping experiences in the corner, buzzing off each other, and in the throes of improvisations around the story, the author, if he's half-awake and I was, marvelling at the metamorphosis yet again, the conversations the characters had in his head, fleshed out and in that process by some strange alchemy, no longer his but everyone's, reflected back to him, changed for the better.
I stayed in a comfy place, very central. For the first week the May Queen company were in the annexe at the Everyman, essentially the attic space of 13 Hope Street which houses the theatre's engine room, so to speak, or at least some of it - finance people, press and marketing departments, and in the capacious basement, wardrobe. As of next week proceedings move down to the Playhouse in Williamson Square, pictured below.