Halfway through, company member REBECCA NEWMAN gives us an update from behind-the-scenes....
THE HONEYMOON PERIOD
Ah, the sweet, blissful honeymoon period. We’ve reached the pivotal halfway point of the run now, 30 shows down, so if the joyful delirium was going to wear off, now is the time. When people’s once cute quirks and endearing habits become nail biting annoyances and the novelty of performing in a cave becomes dark, murky and treacherous. Not that it wasn’t that already in the first place, mind.
After all, caves are cragged, hostile environments made for hibernating, potholing, Bear Grylls, bats and stalactites. And stalagmites for that matter. They are potentially not made for plays, not totally ideal for humans to spend an inordinate amount of time in. Apart from Bear Grylls, who is clearly only part human, part prehistoric mammal. But... perhaps so am I, because quite frankly, I’m still in the lying on a beach, sipping milk from a coconut phase of deep love and devotion to this play, cave and its people. Warts and all. Grit filled crevices and all.
In truth, it hasn’t always been blue skies. Both literally and figuratively. The caves are now very wet because of that. It is nearly always raining in ‘Fife’ nowadays. Cave flu has swept through the cast and crew like wildfire; I’m still awaiting my turn as Incubation Captain though (I can’t wait! It’s all part of the experience! ) Injuries have been sustained. We are all the stronger for it. The play continues to be one of the most incredible things I’ve ever been involved with.
And on top of this revelry, people are actually coming to see it! We are performing for a sold out cave on almost every performance! There isn’t enough room to swing a vampire rat down there! And as they pile in, I get to see the show and caves afresh; I see it through the audience’s eyes for a moment. The look on their faces as they are brought into the main chamber is one of slack jawed wonder; I allow them to remind me what a unique experience this is. Their gasps echo throughout the caverns, I feel them cringe away from me whilst I’m giving them my best witch, we are close enough to spot the odd tear rolling down the odd flushed cheek.
We also perform for classes of excitable students. I never got to see anything quite like this when I was their age. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if this bred a whole new bunch of Shakespeare enthusiasts, more people that get a thrill over a lovely bit of iambic pentameter?
Someone pass the sun cream. My honeymoon continues.
But then the 24th of June happens. Suddenly lines from Macbeth ping out at us with new and powerful resonance. Britain’s EU commissioner resigns using the phrase, ‘What’s done cannot be undone.’
For me, this line reverberates with shocking sentiment:
‘I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
It weeps, it bleeds...’
We take comfort in work. Thank goodness we’ve got this cave and each other. The performance that night feels fierce, defiant and consolatory.
Thank goodness I’m on my honeymoon.