This time last year I decided I was going to write a play and put it up at the Edinburgh festival.
I had a vague idea of what I’d like it to be about, wrote a 4-line paragraph about it, sent it to a venue and got accepted.
Yes, it was that easy.
Up until then.
Because then came the properly challenging part.
I’m so glad I actually got the play set up before because otherwise, I’d never have finished it. Ever.
It was probably the toughest 4 months of my life. I spent the days in a limbo, oscillating between numbing my brain to avoid thinking about it and letting sheer panic take over my body.
Fast forward through a painful daily writing routine, night sweats, and the big production rush…
and the play actually went quite well (just kidding, it was an effing triumph)
So, note for self, external pressure involving tight deadlines and huge sums of money work…
Afterward, though, I was glad to put it all away, focus on my dancing and let go of that show.
The script got cleaned up a bit, we sent out thanks, divided the money and I pressed close on my computer file with a sigh of relief. No lingering feelings of nostalgia. The script and the memories spent winter tightly shut in the dark, gathering dust and slowly fading away.
But with early 2018 came two invitations to perform, and Brighton and Sheffield. And we always say Yes to the stage.
Have you ever revisited past work?
You open your notes with a sense of trepidation, and then it always seems so… outdated. So insignificant. And even if you can still spot one or two areas of brilliance (“that was a good line…”), I’ve found there’s usually a ‘meh’ feel to the whole thing.
The words you thought were so perfectly aligned, so brilliantly brought together have lost their shine and feel awkward and clumsy.
Still, last weekend, we opened the script and reconnected with the old words.
Is it that it was one of the most gorgeous weekends Paris has seen this year?
The sun was shining beautifully, flowers were in bloom and the crowds filled up parks and terraces, generally high on life.
Or it might simply be that learning lines comfortably spread out under a cherry tree beats the rush of a stressful run.
I don’t know what it was, but we fell in love with our play all over again.
Like seeing an ex-partner and remembering fondly how much you’ve experienced together, and how they’ll always be a part of your heart.
6 months of ‘being on a break’ do that to a relationship: all the words came back easily but suddenly we can tweak things up, play more.
We’ve performed it so many times, it is now so deep into our skin that we now have the freedom that comes with familiarity and time.
As if by opening the dusty scripts wide and letting the sun warm up the faded words we’ve given them a second life.
One that’s more cheerful, more daring, more loving, freer.
It was a love story in the end.