Glasgow is famous for its great audiences, and this week’s were every bit as lively and demonstrative as any of us could have hoped for. This was made even more astonishing given the temperature level in the King’s Theatre. Those high up in the gallery, and, it must be said, those on stage under the lights, had to contend with almost unbearable heat: the weather outside and the lack of air-conditioning (which they say is on its way: fingers crossed for next year) in this beautiful theatre made for a sweltering experience for many. At least on stage I was focussed on performing the show: those fanning themselves upstairs could only sit and sweat. So a double thank you to all those who came, and triple thankings if you sat upstairs. For me, my dressing room was no respite either. Ugh. I entered it at each interval and after each show, absolutely sodden, to get changed in a similar temperature. The very lovely staff found me a couple of fans (the air-cooling kind, not devotees of the show) which did help a bit.
On top of this, I was suffering from that run-down, coldy, coughy, fatigue which teachers get at the end of terms and performers on tour get when they know they have a break coming up. It’s as if the body senses it can stop holding everything together for a bit and let go. So during the days I was like a zombie: slumped in my hotel room, staring at the wall, trying to sleep, devoid of energy, eating brains. Although there were moments during the day when I doubted if I could manage the show, there is something (camply referred to as Doctor Theatre) hugely restoring about performing, and in fact I looked forward to the show in the way one might look forward to the company of a friend when one feels low. It’s pure adrenalin: once on stage with a show to do, the mind is distracted and the body given new fuel: aside from a shortness of breath and a concomitant light-headeness, I did fine and the shows were all good ones.
I did, however, have to refrain from coming out to sign. Apologies to any of you who were hoping to see me. And again, if someone comes to the stage door and says I’m unable to come out and sign, please don’t waste your time waiting around.
I am now home, to rest and paint a little and then head off to Italy if the airlines allow it. Speak to you in two weeks or so, when it’s back up to Carlisle. And hopefully this time the weather will be cold and miserable.