Wednesday – Deeper Down

Audience: 42!

Audience Reaction: Welcome To The Dead Zone

Right, we’re getting into it now. The timing of the dance is good, the backstage routine is settling, and all is well in the state of Merton.

I went for hair overload tonight – great wodges of ‘texturizing gum’, bouffed up into a Mozzer quiff, then sprayed liberally with – what appears to be gold glitter – Blonde spray (Thanks Jayne!) It is a righteous look, and one I could get used to. Maybe.

My victim this evening was another plant by the Director – this time someone approaching my age. She reacted very well, at one stage leaning over to Debs, next to her, and whispering, “I’ll kill you for this”. I was tempted to ask her if her friend wanted to join us, but ad-libbing when things are going fine is just asking for trouble.

The excitement and intercom distortion can give rise to hearing problems for many cast members, causing them to mishear their co-actors lines. A couple of examples from tonights performance:

  • “Clingfilm Torquay.” – you’ll get no Wotsits if you carry on like that.
  • “Myth Men! Greek Men! Love ya!” – Hercules! Come on!
  • “I carry him down. I carry him up. I p*ss all over my hands.” – why, love, why?

Also backstage we can play the fun game of picking out the front of house music, who it’s by, and why it was chosen. There seems to be a booze theme. Funny that…

  • Happy Hour by The Housemartins. Pretty obvious.
  • Red Eyes Is Back by The Beautiful South. Uh-huh, figures.
  • When I’m Sixty-Four by The Beatles. Fred & Alice?
  • Constant Craving by k d lang. If this means alcohol, this can only refer to the Director.

We tried to come up with some more suggestions for the ‘Herding Soundtrack’:

  • Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy. Featuring the contraversial sample from the Ultramagnetics’ Dr Octagon, of course. For Roy and Lesley.
  • The Greatest Dancer by Sister Sledge. For Moth and Maudie. “Oh … what … wow!”
  • Whisky In The Jar by Thin Lizzy.
  • Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. For Mrs Iger – change the butt references to men references. OK, a bit tenuous and labour-intensive. This is not a full time job!

It’s always good to know you are entertaining your audience. And the best barometer of excitement is when the audience don’t fall asleep.

We’re clearly not doing a very good job, because there he was, in the front row, snoring and belching his way through both Acts. The Phantom Sleeping Theatre-Goer of The Broadway. Some say he is a myth, a legend, but I have seen him! With my own eyes! And heard him! And smelt him! And they call me a fool!

The rest of the rabble audience started to liven up in the second Act. Fred & Alice went down well, they obviously struck a familiar chord. Many of the audience had clearly seen the inside of “the white place with the closed doors”. JMB (Jethro’s Mighty Blow) got a stunned silence, broken only by the sound of a child crying. Chalk one up to Jethro!

I’ve been starting to feel a bit under the weather. Bit sniffly. Bit of a sore throat. The hard work and nerves take their toll on my immune system. So, according to advice, I’m taking what Dr Timothy Leary would have call ‘heroic doses’ of vitamin C and zinc. In addition, I’ve been told to take extract of echidna, but London Zoo said they’d call the police if I hung around any more.

Item! I now have 3 – count ’em – 1-2-3 roles! Moth (the one with lines), Frank (the forgetter of children), and now we are proud to introduce Alan Dresden (he who wants after-hours booze). You see, when you are a chameleon of theatre like me, a simple change of hat is all that is required to change my identity.

Behold! I am someone else!