Life and Death
I am sitting in the upstairs foyer in Contact Theatre. It's kind of, orange and purple. And curvy. The walls bend drunkenly. Kate Bush was playing, ethereal and weird, and now it's a lounge version of Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me. The sofa I am sitting on is blue and squishy. It enjoys me, I think.
Over to my right Lowri is talking to herself and pacing around precisely, as if performing a ritual. Dawn was on the opposite sofa, but has now gone to the shop to find some berries to satisfy her pregnancy fruit-craving. Upstairs in the big rehearsal space Dora is sharing her work with Rachel, who is picking over it and examining it for truth. Sara and Lydia are home, writing. Sophie is resting, having spent the night with her aunt who has just given birth. Helen has gone home after her session with Rachel. I am not sure where Ro is, but I know that Roxy has taken Dawn's place opposite me and is tapping away on her laptop.
I spent the morning working with Dawn. One of her pieces is a movement-and-words piece, for which she has asked for some cello. I have been quite wary of 'just' playing cello, worrying that people will think I am 'just' a musician. I realized that I actually have a bit of a complex about it, something I have only really developed since I came to Manchester. I never really considered myself a proper cellist, mostly due to the fact that I can't sight-read (or really even second- or third-sight read) and usually just make it up as I go along. I was anxious at the beginning of the process that I would be the desperate musician at the edge of the stage, keening at the spotlight, crying into my sheet music. It hasn't really happened like that, though. Rachel, the director, asked us what we most wanted to do on stage. What, she asked, have you always wanted to do?
I told her. And I am doing it. Oh, God.
We are all doing it. It's mental. And now that I'm not 'just' playing cello, I am really enjoying the parts where I am. Today I was feeling tired and a bit scattered but as I sat down with my cello I relaxed.
It's all kind of intense. There have been some tears, but no tantrums (yet).
I just feel like, wow, am I really allowed to spend my days like this? Being creative and loitering about with people I really like? I feel like I should do some temping just to balance the universe out a bit.
The other day, in rehearsal, I was worrying about getting it right, feeling anxious about being good enough and deserving to be here. Rachel understood, she told me.
"Don't forget, though" she added afterwards, "it's just a show."
It's just a show, but right now it's brilliant and consuming and I am totally loving it.
(Click here to watch the trailer and here to book your ticket.)