With my plans for January, February and March, my health was always going to be a risk factor. If I cannot maintain myself in tip-top condition, there's a possibility that I might get incredibly exhausted and totally unable to catch up... until April!
Sadly, as I sit here in the office at 8am on the first full day of my 32nd year, I feel like a total wreck. I'm in relatively good spirits, for some reason, but I'm physically washed up. I'm floppier than a floppy disk from planet flopsy. I'm hot, tired and my chest and throat are sore. I have a few muscular aches and I really want to curl up in a warm bed and hide, possibly with a hot woman or a hot water bottle.
Curling up and hiding is not an option. There are three more shows of South Pacific and the show must go on. Hopefully, I can find a clever method of getting my voice to work for my few lines here and there. If I had a solo that was higher up in my singing range, it would be a problem. The fact that it's a bass solo means that I should be able to rasp out something vaguely appropriate.
When I did Guys and Dolls I was quite calm in terms of stage nerves and getting to the cues on time, but I was also quite enthused about the show. I felt energetic and surrounded by an energetic cast, doing a show with real zing. South Pacific has a totally different vibe. It can be summed up by looking at the curtain call. We trundle on, singing a lack-lustre song (possibly the worst song of the show - "Honey Bun") and lean forward a few times. Last night the audience seemed to cheer us on for an extra bow or so, but I would hope that their cheers were reserved for the excellent lead cast members, rather than the supporting cast. The supporting cast (of which I am a member) is really quite laid back. There are some notable "numbers" which require some energy from the cast - "Nothing like a dame" and "Wash that man right outta my hair", but overall, it's a sauntering around the theatre sort of a show. It's very easy to feel the soporific effects of the pace of what's happening to us. Fair enough, it's a show of a milder time, but perhaps I prefer the high-energy high-pace shows.
Since I appear to have contracted (that's become infected by, rather than signing up) a mild case of flu, or a strong case of cold (whatever), my energy levels are basically shot. I'm almost relieved that we saunter around, I haven't got too much strength for anything else. I knew that doing a second show in February would be hard, so I can't complain. I suppose it's lucky that this isn't a running around show... though perhaps the running around might help me sweat this lurghi off.
Happy Birthday to me
I'm historically quite bad with birthdays. There are many reasons for this, and I think I made a good move by reclaiming my birthday last year to perform a gig on it - indeed, it was one of the highlights of my performing life. This year, I also stood on stage on my birthday (last night) and I had let slip to some of the cast that they would be seeing me turn 31 in front of their very eyes. Well, the ladies of the chorus decided to make a fuss of me and brought me a card and a wee chocolate muffin with a candle in it. They managed to time this for the moment of my lowest energy of the night, while I was sitting in a chair in the dressing room during the interval feeling like I could do with an early night. It's fair to say that I was perked up by their generosity. I may hint that the society I'm currently performing with are in some ways less impressive than the other society I work with. Maybe it's not fair to compare them. However, they are, for the most part, lovely people for whom I have a lot of time. Their "work ethic" is different, but we are performing a show together that audiences are enjoying. Overall, we look like a reasonable amateur society. I can think of worse societies and worse productions to be in, and perhaps I should be thankful. I will probably look back on this time fondly.
Anyway, following the show, I hit the bar where some of my pals from the Guys and Dolls cast were waiting to wish me a happy birthday and do the appropriate back-slapping. They seemed to have enjoyed the show, which is good. Perhaps I'm just the cynical critic. I was given a birthday card with my name spelt on the envelope as "Ashleigh", rather than my male-spelling of "Ashley" (I just realised that it's possible that some readers have no idea who I am). They'd initially spelled it correctly but had crossed it out and put the alternative as a joke after finding my name spelt the incorrect way in the program. It was very perceptive of them to make that joke, since they know I'm a pedant and that I will have noticed the inaccuracy and been somewhat peeved by it. I was pleased that they understood enough to make the joke. I am slightly niggled by the whole misspelling thing. The reason I'm not too bothered is that I'm too tired to really care and I have no illusions of my significance in this particular show. I'm there to help fill the stage, nothing more. Sadly, this misspelling seems to have been adopted by the more fastidious members of the society, who have checked the spelling of my name in the programme (to be sure to spell it right) and have then put this misspelling on various forms, papers etc, including the card I was given last night. I'm quick to notice these things (I am, after all, obsessed with text) but I'm not so ungracious as to point them out and offend people. I suppose it takes the shine off things a bit, but it's not the first time. I remember once being given a Christmas card by a young lady I felt something of a sparkle of attraction towards. At the time, I thought - "Hey, perhaps she might have a sparkle about me" - until I saw she'd misspelt my name. At that point, I came to the conclusion that if she cared about me in a way that I'd want her to, she'd have found out the correct spelling.
Yes. I am a dick. A 31 year old dick.
Hanging around the theatre didn't seem like an option, given that I was tired and in need of my bed. I was also due to host a fellow comedian, who had asked me for a bed for the night. Given that he'd actually bothered to ask, rather than take my offer of last time he was up as some sort of half-hearted "Oh you must stay (but don't)", I was keen to ensure that I kept my word. My spare bed is always available to comedians I have respect for (i.e. the ones that I get on with, rather than the ones that waste their time calling me a dick - that's my job). So I drove into Newcastle to wait for him to emerge from his gig. He had a night's accommodation and then he sheepishly woke me up at 7:20 this morning. Despite the fact that I'd told him that I sleep like the dead and that he'd have to work to wake me, he seemed rather reticent to make me get up. He had a train at 7:45 and the only way to get him to it was by car. I drove him into town, dropped him at the station and then came into the office early, giving me a chance to sit at my desk for a half hour or so feeling sorry for myself and mewling a bit (while writing this blog, which may be the text-equalivant of a mewling).
There are three more shows of South Pacific. As soon as the last of these shows is over, I am going to do a bit of back slapping and then there's an appointment which involves my bed and a lot of warmth. I want a relaxing and lovely weekend in which to recharge. While this weekend will comprise nothing more than Sunday, I hope to make the most of that day and emerge, at the start of next week, in a cheery and energetic mood.
Despite all my moaning about energy and health, I am actually in a very contented mood. I have started my 32nd year with a great deal of optimism and I'm looking forward to making it a very happy year. I owe this in no small way to the people to whom I am close. If you are surrounded by people you adore, then you can't help but feel good.