Cannizaro was a one off. We turned up at about four o'clock in the afternoon, encountered the venue for the first time, for the evening show.
Transcript of Podcast
My good sweet mouse I commend me heartily to you …
Cannizaro was a one off. We turned up at about four o'clock in the afternoon, encountered the venue for the first time, for the evening show. We were a bit disappointed, we had just been at Leeds Castle, which was stunningly beautiful, and picturesque, and we got to Cannizaro - a temporary stage rigged like a festival stage they might have at Glastonbury - an aluminium structure with a lighting rig. It was all very man-made; very different to Leeds. The venue mainly seems to have comedians and musicians doing one night stands there.
We set the van and our stage in front of the temporary stage. It was completely different to anything we had done before. It was a funny little auditorium with seats in two lines facing towards each other, not facing towards the stage, obviously that's how they do it for the other shows, and we just had to work with that. We were a bit grumpy actually that it wasn't as nice as Leeds, but it filled up and there must have been about eight hundred people at the show, which is our biggest audience so far, apart from the Globe. They were a London audience, very much so. They were pretty theatre literate, mixed age ranges, a Wimbledon audience, who got the jokes and the theatricality of the show. There were a couple of people with babies, who had to take them out when they started to scream, but I actually really like that. I like the fact that with outdoor theatre, young parents with new born babies - who can't normally go to the theatre, but with outdoor theatre if the baby gets uncomfortable or needs feeding they can step outside - can still enjoy a show. I really like that they have access to some sort of theatre. There were some obviously older, retired people, some teenagers - a nice mix in that respect, but it was a middle class audience. I think the tickets were rather dear.
It was open air, although the auditorium seating banks were covered under a marquee-type structure, but the stage and the area between the seating banks was not covered.
Because of the position of the seats the audience all had to sit at an angle in their chairs to look down at the stage, but even the people that were furthest from the stage didn't seem to have a problem with that. The festival had rigged up a sound system which was set up along the front of our stage, which they had intended to use, so that they could amplify our voices, but we did a mic test as soon as we arrived and we didn't need it. It was a much easier space vocally than a lot of the other spaces we have used.
The weather was alright, it was a little overcast but it wasn't hot and humid like it has been down in Kent, so it was pretty perfect.
For the first time we've been very hot, especially over the weekend at Leeds. We had matinees in very hot weather and in bright sunshine, and we really have had to be careful of dehydration. But last night, at Cannizaro, it was much cooler, and because we weren't squinting into the sun, it was much easier to work.
The travelling is fine at the minute. My family live in Kent and I have been staying with them. It doesn’t feel so much like living out of a suitcase. We've been thinking about the next stage really - in Cornwall – when we're staying in caravans. I've been thinking about how I'm going to be dealing with all that.
The show was very warmly received. It's difficult to compare with other shows, because as soon as the numbers in the audience go up, they sense each other, and a little laugh amongst two hundred people becomes a big laugh amongst eight hundred people. I think the fact that they were a London audience and used to different sorts of theatrical conventions meant that they were open to some of the things we do. I enjoyed it a lot, they were good.
The changes that occurred to the length of play have levelled off, and we can more or less tell to within a minute how long the show has been. If we feel the second half has gone slowly, we will say: 'It's fifty-nine minutes tonight', and within a minute we're more or less correct. I think what did change last night is that most of the cast had someone in the audience that they knew, either friends, family or agents, and that always boosts everyone's energy.
There are still scenes which I am not entirely happy with and that I talk with the other actors, who are in those scenes, regularly about. We agree that there are still some bits that need tweaking, or there are a couple of scenes I have that I don't feel like I've found the essence of yet. Although every night we try something different, I'm not quite satisfied with them yet, so there's still work being done, nothing's set in stone, and there are still some things which are still work in progress as far as I'm concerned.
… And so sweet mouse, farewell, and brook our long journey with patience,