I lift my head, the bright lights make my wide eyes screw up into tiny black beads. In the distance I can see them, they are looking back at me, a packed theatre audience, a full house. My smile widens, it stretches across my face, from ear to ear. I sit in the centre of the stage alone, a spotlight shining above my head, my legs are wide, my toes are pointed, my back is straight. I rattle the instrument against my thigh strictly to the beat of the music playing around me, spoons, I’d practiced for weeks, I hit it just right. I was 10 years old and dressed as a scarecrow. My role was taken seriously and I played my part with distinction and ease. I was on stage performing in the Byre Theatre’s touring performance of Worzel Gummidge. Tonight we performed at the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy. I opened the show.
I’ve always had an affiliation with the theatre. From a young age I would tread the boards in numerous productions with various theatre companies, big and small. Back then I was less self aware, I’m far too self critical now to perform in any plays or musicals. My theatre is now my work station and mirror, my clients are my audience and my creative collaboration with their hair is my performance.
To my delight, Ruby has started to show an urge for performance and spends night after night making up dance routines, songs, rhymes and comedy sketches. As part of Ruby’s ‘Summer Holiday Club and Camp Programme’ she participated in a week long theatre school at Dundee Rep. A facility within easy reach for kids with similar interests from our city. An end of week presentation saw Ruby confidently recite her rehearsed lines as Darren and I, amongst others enjoyed her contribution within the pleasant spectacle.
I left school at 16 years old. I had one higher, a higher grade qualification in Drama. I was awarded an A, it was the only subject I cared about or took an interest in. As well as performing I loved reading plays. My favourites were written by John Byrne, particularly ‘The Slab Boys Trilogy’. With an inquisitive nature I wasn’t just drawn to Byrne’s writing, my research unearthed his paintings, my best-loved being album covers he had produced for Gerry Rafferty, his band Stealers Wheel and The Beatles.
I bumped into John Byrne on Wednesday. I literally bumped into him at Dundee train station. I was running in an incredibly tight Hayley Scanlan dress and black leather wedges. I had just been to afternoon tea at the Malmaison Hotel, organised by fellow blogger The Daydreamer. I was sprinting to catch a train to Edinburgh with my mum and sister Hayley. We were on our way to watch ‘Love Me Tender’ at Edinburgh Playhouse. I ran into John Byrne as he walked up the stairs, I recognised him instantly but felt entirely embarrassed to say.
Byrne’s latest collaboration has brought him to Dundee along with The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy. The List, The Carousel and The Deliverance. Three separate stories, each play worthy in its own right; together they form a powerful piece of theatre. Set in Quebec they follow a woman’s journey of discovery about her past. Written in French and translated into English by Shelley Tepperman, with the set and costume design by Byrne. The one women show is performed by Maureen Beattie, who gives a gripping, dramatic performance that will draw you into a frightful mind of a woman struggling to come to terms with her unfortunate life.
Spread over three nights, each performance an hour long, left you eager for more. Entirely gratified with the simple, yet incredibly complex stage set, which left clues into the mind of the sole character. To view John Byrne’s art first hand was a noteworthy culmination of years of admiration. I bumped into John Byrne a further three times and still found it impossible to say hello, nonetheless I left the theatre last night wholly satisfied with my experience.
The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy will run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2015.