Day eight of rehearsals.
Dear reader, I have, I’m delighted to report, rented a darling little cottage near our rehearsal space!Yay! I can’t tell you how extremely happy I am to have a little bolt hole to retreat to after my day’s work without first having to battle a 2/3 hour drive back to London after our 7 hour rehearsal. Ah Bliss!
But I have a confession to make – It’s my first time in this corner of the world, and hey, isn’t Norfolk beautiful? And ever so flat! The sunsets are absolutely spectacular and I’m pretty sure shepherds and sailors have been delighting in the blazing red skies I have been witness to over the past week or so. Just breathtaking!
In the play most of my characters – and I have 10 plus of them – live either near in or round Aldeburgh. Now although I wasn’t there at the time, I have been researching, and it was not the lovely Aldeburgh you know today. In Crabbe’s time Aldborough was no longer picturesque or prosperous. It was far removed from the beautiful coastal retreat you enjoy today. It had been defeated by the ocean and had been left battered and rough. Much like many of our characters. Money, jobs and food were scarce. Of course privilege was never too far away, looking down on the lower classes, wanting to deride, or better still be rid of them. Heartbreaking as it may be, the play invites you to share Crabbe’s disdain of violence, ignorance and snobbery and applaud bravery and ambition. And we do have some superbly brave and admirable characters.
More importantly the play presents me (in character) with the opportunity to be beaten up a couple of times on stage by the wonderful Nick Murray-Brown…something I have to admit had never actually happened to me before in my life. So if you’re into action thrillers more than poetry, you might want to come along just for that!
Anyway, why am I telling you all this? Well dear readers I’m knee deep exploring these characters and the themes, society, relationships and environments of this play, so I guess I’m currently a little stuck in late 18th and early 19th Century Suffolk. And although I am at present holed up in 21st century Norfolk, I’m a darn site closer to it than I was down in North London. And very happy to be so.
I’m genuinely excited at the opportunity to tour East Anglia with this fantastic little theatre company and our wonderful director and cast. I think it’s a fabulous play. I hope I get to see more of the beautiful countryside as I dash in and out of your local theatres. And I shall definitely be coming back.
I have one confession to make, and I say it to you now so it’s a matter of record, I may not do the Suffolk accent justice. (Just warning you all in advance.)
Bu’, Oi’m ‘avin’ a ball actin’ in this he’ah play, an’ Oi’ve a lo’ o’ work to do yit, so fo’ now it’s back to my loines……(do you see what I did there?)