Thursday, 17 May 2012

Full Circle

The first proper tour I did was as an 11-year old, and I didn't really understand the mechanics of the company or the hierachy. I mean, I spent most of my time with my chaperone, who was a retired teacher from a girl’s private school so I wasn’t in the thick of it much but anyway, it bears reflection.
Most of my contact was with the stage management team – I hardly saw the other actors out of performance. No wonder - why on earth would want to spend their time with an annoying 11-year old? Anyway, I think I preferred the earthy, practical atmosphere of the green room and the SM’s. I now realise that the swarthy, magnetic, guitar-playing, earring-wearing CSM was almost certainly conducting an affair with the pretty, busty DSM whilst already seeing the Production Manager. You have to admire his organisational skills in keeping them apart in the heat of touring. And I had a massive crush on the ASM which I wasn’t that great at concealing, and which she must have managed with tact and sensitivity, because I don’t remember getting my heart broken.
The only actor I was close to was close to was Tim, who played the central character and also my father. Perhaps we had a natural affinity, but I suppose he made an extra effort because it was so important that we were close on stage, in particular in the sections when his character is on hunger strike and they bring his son to persuade him to eat. He used to make me cry every night in that scene and he often spent a few moments afterwards making sure all was OK. A lovely man and a quite brilliant actor.
And here I am 34 years later playing a Dad myself in powerful scenes with an onstage son. My boy Matt “Alan Strang” Pattimore fills my socks with talc and ties my jeans legs in knots when I’m out of the dressing room, and I change his Facebook updates to anti-Liverpool ones when he’s in the loo, but there’s a similar emotional charge to our onstage relationship.
Whether he has a crush on the ASM though, I couldn't possibly speculate.

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