I wake up in a muck-sweat having just had a dream where I suddenly realised before going on stage that I couldn’t remember any of my lines and hadn’t shaved my legs for a scene where I get naked. Certainly not indicative then of my upcoming role in The Graduate with Hild Bede Theatre (HBT)… Ok, so maybe my lines aren’t perfect yet, and yes, maybe I do take my kit off in the play but why would I be worried when we open this Wednesday? Oh wait. That’s what putting on a show is all about, the mild terror of how terrible it’s going to be that turns to that rush as you come off stage on the first night and it’s all come together better than you could ever imagine. It’s hard to remember that though as I stumble through our first rehearsal without scripts and try to find a way to progress a scene where we’ve tied ourselves in knots, and are trying to decide whether maybe it’s just better to skip the next four pages, no matter how much we enjoy the joke on page 10.
But then I watch the rest of the cast as we still manage to crack each other up in the stripper scene, amongst others, and I realise that’s also why this is so good – because it’s fun. That’s just it. Our whole cast and crew have such varied experiences of theatre, and yet we just enjoy being there with people who also enjoy doing this thing. Plus, it keeps you busy. Maybe too busy, if my housemates had any say. I promise I’ll do my share of the cleaning soon! It also doesn’t help that we’re a social bunch, and what better way to end a full day of rehearsals than chatting it all over in the Vern or my spiritual home of the Library (the bar, or LBL for ease and lack of confusion; the name has also helped keep my parents in the dark about of my lack of time spent in the real place with books!).
I’m playing Mrs Robinson; a bored, alcoholic housewife who begins an affair with a much younger man. A character who I don’t feel represents myself being a) not married and b) certainly not bored. My friends, however, were unsurprised at the casting, which is just plain rude, if you ask me! She certainly has been fun to play though. And while the Southern drawl has been hard to master, it does make it easier to attempt to be seductive, and it’s been a pleasure to work with Matt Davey again who I worked with on our first ever show in Durham three years ago now!
All in all, it’s been a rollercoaster two weeks from being cast to actually putting on this show, whilst trying to learn lines and fit some academic work around that, but I’m so glad I decided to audition, and how many people can say they’ve literally bared everything on stage? It’s going to be intimate, funny, and downright ridiculous at times with a lot of ‘My Gaaad’s but I hope that audiences will come away having enjoyed themselves after a fun couple of hours of theatre, as that’s what HBT just is. A great deal of amusement, that’s inclusive and open to whoever wants to get involved!
‘The Graduate’ opens on Wednesday in Caedmon Hall at 7.30pm and will run until Saturday. Book your tickets here.
Photograph: Corinna Harrison