circus, puppets and first nights

So as well as opening The Man With the Flower in His Mouth and starting rehearsals for Coalition I’m also working as a puppeteer this week on a research and development period for a contemporary circus show featuring puppets. So I spent the morning animating umbrellas and trying to make a beautiful puppet boy (made and co-operated by Jeremy Bidgood of Pangolin’s Teatime fame) swim in the air. What a wonderful thing not to be in charge of everything for once – just to be led (very gently) by Layla Rosa (amazing aerial choreographer and all round brilliant artist) in a series of improvisations with some circus artists. Felt like a breath of fresh air. Can’t wait for tomorrow – I’ll get to climb up some ropes myself!

Then over to New Cross for opening night. Previews are a stressful affair wherever you are, but in a cafe that seats 20 where the lights never dim you can’t just sit at the back in the dark and be nervous. So I sat in the middle in the brightness and was nervous. Still, the cast did me proud – we’ve still got some way to go (of course, that’s what previews are for) but my gosh have we come far.