Friday 23rd April 2010, 00:39
It was an odd idea - to revisit a play we first performed at school, just because the school was having a birthday, and most of the original cast still lived locally, not to mention that I see them on a weekly basis. It's a very silly comedy - part farce, part murder mystery - that I wrote when I was 17. But I've always enjoyed it and keep coming back to it - this was the 5th production of it with new casts each time. It's been done, independent of me, by Bristol Uni and Edinburgh Uni, and is being put on again this August in the Camden Fringe, again, nothing to do with me.
So it was nice to come back to it with the original actors, many of whom I had in mind when writing the characters. I say 'characters' - more caricatures, some of them, as parts include Dribbles the manservant, Professor Von Spleen, and one character just called Dodgy Bloke. Shakespeare it ain't, but fun it is, and it was tonight.
We've had 5 rehearsals, and the first rehearsal with the complete cast was the dress rehearsal. I'm on stage 4 nights a week doing stand-up, but it's not quite the same as donning a costume, learning some lines, and interacting with others onstage. Much as the temptation was to go totally off-script and improvise around some laughs, you do have to consider other actors, so I think I reined myself in there.
Anyway, one night only, one big laugh. We may put it on again in a year or so at the Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford - if once again we just can't keep away from this blast from the past. It was odd - putting it on in the new auditorium that used to be the gym, where I last set foot to do my A levels. The night before plays, many actors have anxiety dreams about remembering lines or cues - I had a dream instead all about turning up for the right exam.
So tomorrow night, back to normality. ie. A stage, as Paul Kerensa not Paul Young, with no costume, no learned lines, just me and no one else. Much more comfortable.