A visit to the Western General


A technically under par show yesterday prompted us to rework some material this morning, in particular the refinement of the overt physical sections, including ‘Fight 2’ and the addressing of our naked scenes, in danger of getting a bit safe.

‘Fight 2’ involves an approach, a slap, a push and a restraint, ending with a yield. But I sensed a predictability setting in, so I engineered the inclusion of a retreat and a grab after the approach – adding jeopardy and hopefully surprise to the slap.

We rehearsed it up a couple of times, but knew we wouldn’t be able to pull it off fully energised until the showtime itself.

Come 3pm and the show is firing on all cylinders. Our improvements seemed to be bedding in nicely and the more brazen displays of flesh are helping to enforce the characters’ honesties and vulnerabilities, not to mention creating bolder stage pictures.

Come the final exchange we positioned ourselves ready for ‘Fight 2’. I make my approach, Steph retreats, I grab her trailing arm and she swings round, giving me an almighty belt (the move formerly known as slap). It is brilliant. The atmosphere feels electric… or is that just the blood rushing to my head? I know in that instant that my eardrum has burst. The shock, together with the adrenaline rush makes for a pretty animal response from me…powerful…and real.

I knew my ear had perforated because exactly the same thing happened when performing Class Enemy at The Dukes Playhouse in the summer of 1985. Iron, played by Andy Serkis, was about to start wrecking the joint, hurling school desks around the reinforced set, but first he warmed up by hitting his irritant punk lapdog Nipper (played by me). As with today’s episode, I’d encouraged him to hit me harder – resulting in a minor perforation, which messed up my hearing for several days.

Today’s celebrity perpetrator, Stephanie Day, J&S udderbellywill be  one to look out for in the future. Whether treading the boards of the National, or winning bare-knuckle fights in the back rooms of Deptford boozers. The clinician at the Western General Hospital said he’s never seen a rupture quite like it. The drum-skin torn and separated out from top to bottom. Unsurprisingly my hearing in the left ear is impaired somewhat and will remain so for a good while longer. But there’s not much treatment possible. It’ll just have to heal itself. Hopefully.

I’ve been bumping into friends since I got here. Lancaster Uni pals Richard Blanco and Lucy Briers are here and the Stan’s Cafe crew arrive in town tomorrow. More on the way next week.


4 Responses to “A visit to the Western General”

  1. 1 Paul

    in short then, you got hit by a girl and had to go to A and E, do you want me to fill er in?

  2. *winces*

  3. 3 Camila


  4. OOh! Yuk – Read this after writing on your face book – no photo of A & E then??
    Hope the hearing is improving (and you have picked the same Word Press lay out as me!!)

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