- Hire a small theatre/arts centre
- Write and rehearse a show
- Tell everyone you know to come along
- Buy all the kit you need to make the show happen
- Get or hire a van
- Fill it with the stuff and drive to the theatre
- Spend a few hours installing technical equipment and positioning props/scenery
- Do a technical run through to make sure your technician knows what he's doing
- You have to recruit the technician first
- Get into your costume
- Go out there and do your thing
- and if they like you, they'll appreciate it... whether it's any good or not.
That's just fact. The question in my mind was how much of an achievement it was to stage the last 4 shows of The Musical! We left London on Sunday night (well, Monday morning) with the sound of an audience's laughter and applause still in our ears. But they were an audience composed of family, friends and well-wishers. How much had we actually achieved?
On a practical basis, the mechanics of staging the show and the administration required to put it all together has been an achievement on the grand scale. We had a van full of people and kit. There were mirror balls, spotlights, wires, home-made furniture, etc etc - a massive quantity of preparation.
On a personal basis, the teamwork required to stage the show was phenomenal - outside of the work that my co-writer and I have done, we had people giving their time to help recruit an audience, or provide technical assistance (our techie gave up a weekend to drive from Scotland to London to run the show for us). Also on a personal basis, the audience members put themselves forward to support the show.
On an artistic basis... well, I'm too close to the show to know.
So, actually, I had no reason to come away from Sunday night feeling let down or disappointed.
I didn't have an incredible buzz on the journey home, though. I was low. I was a fool. Self-praise breeds complacency, so perhaps I'm wise not to be too impressed at what we'd done, but there's a lot more to do. 23 shows in Edinburgh, for a start. We need to be so sharply honed and focused, that we can entertain audiences and impress critics alike. We need to be awe-inspiringly good. That's a hell of a thing to live up to.
Then I listened to one of my favourite bits of music - David Arnold's main title for "The Musketeer". It's a favourite because, from the first moment I heard it, I could hear the joy in its creation. It's over the top, it's silly and it's full of rousing energy. Despite having had about 3 hours' sleep on Monday and feeling like we had a month's work to do in the next 2 weeks to make the most of the show, I suddenly had my wind back. The Musical! will be the best it can possibly be. All it takes is inspiration and a bit more of the teamwork that's allowed us to put on 4 shows in 3 venues. We've assembled and disassembled the set 5 times in various venues. We've rehearsed and rehearsed and given our all to this project. There will be no last minute self-doubt to get in our way.
To that end, we re-wrote the start and end of the show... just a little. I'm excited about them.
We're on radio Newcastle in a couple of hours' time, talking about this exciting project... and you know what? it IS exciting. I don't know whether it's a work of art or not and it's too late to worry. I know that we've had audiences screaming with laughter. I know that we've had applause as a result of creating moments of genuine entertainment. This is what we set out to do. A little idea which grew from a momentary flash back on August 18th 2003, which turned into an email I sent to Chris two days later... that's what we're peddling and it's going to be peddled to the max.
If anyone looks at our efforts with disdain, then that's their problem - let them have a go at it, it's hardly an easy ride. Mind you, if it's a critic doing it, then perhaps it's going to be a little bit more of a problem... but critics... you know... they're bound to be critical!