The last date on our tour was Lords cricket ground. For a cricket fan, playing Lord’s is an unbelievable experience. But even to a non – cricket fan, like me, it was still unbelievable!
Transcript of Podcast
My good sweet mouse, I commend me heartily to you...
The last date on our tour was Lords cricket ground. For a cricket fan, playing Lord’s is an unbelievable experience. But even to a non – cricket fan, like me, it was still unbelievable! We arrived at the venue, which is huge, in the middle of a bright sunny day. The show was totally sold out. I couldn’t believe we were playing on a famous cricket pitch in the middle of London.
We had had two days off in London before this last show. I had been saving every last ounce of my energy to send us off with a good performance. It feels like we have been on tour for much longer than just a summer. We have performed over seventy shows. It had been an incredible journey and we were coming to its end. We were broken and tired, but still with one more show to put on.
Of course I knew it was going to be a special event. I was told that I had to dress ‘smart’, there were drinks afterwards in the club house, and of course this was our last venue on the tour. However, I did not anticipate being asked, on arrival, if I would like tea, coffee, or sandwiches by a very smart suited man. Nor did I expect to be led up to the England team’s changing room, or to be standing on that famous balcony looking out over that pitch. It was only when I was standing there that I started to realise how special this event was going to be.
Ed Dick, the director, was back from Australia and suddenly, we went from being alone (apart from some fantastic supportive Globe Stewards) in the middle of the country side at imposing imperial houses to having lots of important people around us making sure we hadn’t forgotten what we were there to do.
We walked to our humble stage, erected on the perfect lawn, in our Sunday suits and we warmed up together, something we hadn’t done since our first show at the Globe, amongst the grass cutters and lawn huggers lovingly caring for the pitch. The audience was split between the upper balcony and the main seating area. They had to have space to picnic, so catering to that space was demanding and required a lot of energy to include all levels at the same time.
We returned to our changing room as the guests were arriving. We did our best to not get too distracted its physio bed, drinks cabinet and the view from the balcony. We could hear the brilliant Elizabethan musicians from the Globe that had magically appeared on the pitch to play for our last show.
When it was time for the show, like a team who had had a season of battling, we walked through the player’s entrance on the pitch, ready for the match. Our last team huddle and focus was a little teary. We knew what we had come through together to get here and it was coming to an end. This was our last time.
The show was a whiz of emotions, actions, heart, excitement, hits, intense relationships, well-known familiar moments, new moments, but mainly real feelings and of course tears. I can’t remember how it went, whether we were different or what really happened. I think partly because we were very exposed on the pitch in the blinding mid day sun and with little to show except ourselves it just went forward and quickly. It was overpowering, emotional and we gave all we had left. I said my last final lines and heard the prince concluding the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet, tears welled up in my eyes. It has been an epic experience. The applause was incredible, extremely overwhelming and unbelievably encouraging. I cried some more.
We had done it. We had taken Shakespeare and the Globe, in the form of this honest and raw production, out to people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to see it. We were so tired.
After the show, in the clubhouse, we were given champagne and treated with incredible kindness. It was like being Royalty. The Lord’s organisers were thrilled at the joining of two great entertainment forms at the heart of our culture. It was such an honour to be a part of it all.
My Juliet had become a very determined fighter. She was passionate, emotional, fragile and strong. Had we not taken this show on tour I don’t think she would have become so ingrained and real. The process of fighting against our outdoor environments, having to create and sustain our worlds using ourselves alone had taken our characters to quite different heights.
I am satisfied to let Juliet lie at rest now. I must say I would do it again though perhaps with a few indoor shows and a few extra helping hands. More costume would be nice - I love Elizabethan dresses – they might have padded me out a bit for those more abusive moments in the play.
… And so sweet mouse, farewell, and brook our long journey with patience,