What went down on and offstage in WiLD-land these past few weeks? It was memorable, hard work, and absolutely wonderful. (There are two more performances this week in Birmingham!
“Hilarious, beautiful, enchanting… just incredible.” audience @ Chapter 2012
Performing WiLD for some real live audiences has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Every audience to date has been so responsive, kind, and generous with their feedback. I really, really enjoyed every single second onstage. I started looking forward to scenes that I had felt less close to up until that point. By the end of the Chapter run I had new favourites.
“An astonishing solo performance” audience @ Chapter 2012
It’s strange creating something that you believe in, that you keep working on and want to share, you have a hunch that it could be good – but you don’t know if anyone else in the world will see it’s value, or enjoy it. Sharing it with an audience is the only way to find out, and based on the responses I received, I feel proud of myself and everyone who worked on it.
““Probably the best show I’ve ever seen.” audience @ Chapter 2012
“A comic explosion of acute, cringe-making social observation,
a painful onion-peeling of the soul… a joyous babbling stream of surreal connections
and wild ideas” – audience @ Chapter 2012
There were challenges, as you might expect. I don’t usually get nervous, but doing an hour and a half long solo show is something else. The pressure is huge. I lost my voice before the first night, which was… interesting. I didn’t speak all day Thursday to help it rest.
By opening night my voice had relaxed, and I was fine. Over the course of the week my nerves ebbed away. This was actually a positive experience for me, one of learning to trust and rely on myself.
“The enviably multi-talented Emerald takes us on a winningly imaginative eighty-minute journey… A technical tour-de-force” – British Theatre Guide
Yesterday Rob started reciting lines from the show to me, so if I ever can’t do a performance in future he can do it instead . One of the nicest parts of rehearsal were the times I couldn’t quite get something, or was too tired to lift a duvet over my head for the eleventeenth time in a row, so I would sit down (with biscuits) and ask him to do the scene for me. Directors aren’t really meant to show actors how to do something, but we were making up our own rules, (one of the best things about making theatre yourself). What a joy! Learning by copying is easy, I could clock a rhythm of an action by watching it, and then leap up and do it ten times better than I had before. Sometimes you can feel the rhythm of a series of actions inside yourself but it needs encouragement to come out.
“The performance constantly surprised me” – Bethan Natalie James @ National Theatre Wales
Going to The Richard Whiteley Theatre in North Yorkshire was another challenge. Would the audience of mostly GSCE and A level drama students get it? Would they laugh? Would they heckle? Would they walk out when they heard some Welsh!?
“A bit funny, a bit sexy, a bit quirky, a bit imaginative, a bit weird, and very amazing” audiences @ Chapter 2012
As it happens they were a bloody brilliant audience. They showed me moments that were funny in a new way. They laughed at some references the older audiences didn’t see (while missing other Radio 4 based references). They even enjoyed the scene in Welsh! At the end of the night a few students stayed behind to chat. They were so happy! In that moment when I walked up to meet them my fears disappeared; something had worked here.
“Touching and deeply moving” - audience @ Chapter 2012
So what next? I now feel more confident and more ambitious, with plans brewing both large and small. I’m looking for a producer, and I want to book a shiny new tour for next year. Watch out, here I come!
“I was tempted to go twice – there were many magic perceptive moments
I wanted to hold onto” – audience @ Chapter 2012
Book tickets to see WiLD at the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham
Friday 26th and Saturday 27th October 2012 @ 7.30pm
Thanks to everyone who sent their feedback, in whatever form,
Plus check out other really lovely words about the show on Twitter @actsofbeauty
Photography by Ashleigh Haddad