I am writing this having survived giving a presentation about my graduation show to the Friends of my drama school. These are an interesting bunch - some wildly supportive, encouraging and enthusiastic, and others more reserved.
It was terrifying.
But, while I stood deer-in-the-headlights-style at the front of the room, trying to put into words not only what the play is about but quite what makes it so special, I realised a few things. On the surface, very little happens in the play - three men are locked in a room, and pretty much stay there the whole way through. But the emotion, the ordeal, the spirit and the struggle for survival are extraordinary. McGuinness' text is poetic, abrupt, sincere and challenging, and the experience the characters go through is unimaginable.
In our production - on a tiny stage in a cramped theatre above a pub - the audience seating becomes an extension of the cell. Our set has no tabs, and the walls of the theatre are the walls of the cell. The actors only leave the stage at key moments, and although the audience has the freedom of the interval, the visual continuity and picture that we are trying to achieve should - I hope - go some way to giving the audience a taste of what it might be like to be a hostage; thereby identifying them with the characters even more than the surface allows.
More than this, I found myself remembering how strongly I feel for the characters, and the play itself. I am so excited and proud to be a part of it - even more so now that we have been able to explore it in rehearsal. In a strange way, the break we have had to take since the first rehearsal phase has given me time to pause and take stock - and really appreciate the process of creating theatre. We are now two and a half weeks away from the first night, and I can't wait to see it come to life.