On Monday I go into rehearsals. I can scarcely believe it. Sleeping Beauty opens at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster on Friday 11th December.
I had to stop myself from giving form to my doubts by writing "is scheduled to open". Because honestly, I think I'll only really believe it's going to open once it has. So much has been cancelled this bloody year, so much has fallen through, that nothing can be relied upon.
We are urged to cultivate gratitude. Things may be lost, fall through, get cancelled. Be grateful for what we do have. And I'm grateful to have had the pleasure of writing it alongside Sarah. I'm grateful for the rehearsal process we're about to enter, which I know will be joyful. I'll be grateful for all that, but it won't stop me being gutted if in the end no-one gets to see it.
It's an extraordinarily brassy call from the Dukes. Most theatres either didn't take the risk on a Christmas show in the first place, or have since pulled them. Karen looked at Lancaster around Christmas time and saw that everything had been cancelled: the ice rink, the big wheel, the lights switch on, everything. Christmas looked thoroughly depressing. So the team at the Dukes figured out a way of remodelling everything about the usual process of putting on a show, and giving the people of Lancaster something to enjoy at Christmas. In the process, I have learned an astonishing amount about ventilation, but if that's what it takes, so be it.
As things stand, we're due to open These Hills Are Ours in January too. I'm in danger of entering a permanent state of disbelieving astonishment.
Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will