Never Have You EverNotebook

Comfort zone, what comfort zone? I see no comfort zone.

And so the great work begins...

However, I'm feeling a little under the weather at the moment. I recognise this because when 'little', 'under' and 'weather' descends I wake almost routinely at 3.33am convinced that there is someone in my room; my nose runs like a child who has yet to discover tissues; the black bags under my eyes develop their own hand luggage; and I become increasingly clumsy... this week we have said goodbye to several items of glassware, a plate, and my dignity.

My current state of insignificant-beneath-a-cloud-ness only served to exacerbate Friday night's moment of panic. Elevating the situation to what could be regarded as your average Holby City-esque freak out.

A little background before we leap into the melodrama of the aforementioned 'Friday night'. It was preceded by a day with Freud, Conan-Doyle, and a lecturer (and his students) who have the uncanny ability of making me feel as intelligent as the toy mascot that a team props against their name on University Challenge. Id and ego already bruised by the day, an email arrives to confirm our project rehearsal space... and this toy mascot (me) is now ankle deep in the icy water that is seeping through the rivets of a sinking ship: in Week One of our project development we have just 5 hours to rehearse our new work.

5 hours... water... 5 HOURS... ruddy freezing... 5 hours... breathe.

All plans that had been made with confident enthusiasm wane under the pressure of time. Time becomes a spectre sticking two fingers up at me as I try to plug holes, and stop the panic from flooding in.

Trust me, the irony of this situation is not lost on me; the mere idea of me writing about feeling desperately out of my depth, registers heavily on the irony scale. I mean(!)... The Fun Club presenting a show that challenges the idea of comfort zones which in turn leads to one of it's members feeling about as comfortable as a survivor of the Titanic lying on a wardrobe door, is an irony that I can fully appreciate the comic potential of.

And so, in this tale of self indulgence, we have reached the point where I am dressed as a toy mascot, standing ankle deep in freezing cold water with my fingers plugging the holes from letting water in, while a spectral figure called 'Time' gives me the vees... as metaphors go it's pretty elaborate, but nonetheless accurate.

All of this is happening while I am at work. I am instantly furious with myself, and equally furious with everyone who comes to the bar to be served. "Whyyyyyyyyyyy?" I whine, internally (while scowling, eternally).

Our ambition as a trio of artists is rightly ambitious. But ambition takes time.

As a part of my freaking out I revisit the list of NHYE (NEVER HAVE YOU EVER, 2017) suggestions in an attempt to reschedule the week around the tiny pool of rehearsal time, and what was wadable is now up around my ass and threatening to fully Ophelia me: "Pee yourself while reciting Shakespeare", "stage a reading of Fifty Shades of Grey", and "dance naked" all have their specific discomfort markers, but the ones that I'm worrying most considerably about are things like;

  • "wear your face painted as an animal for a whole day": never mind the costs of face paints (unless they cost 57p, there is no hope of me affording those until payday Thursday). But what am I going to do when I go and direct young actors in the evening? How can I be taken seriously with my face painted like a panda... People struggle to take me seriously with my face painted with like a human.
  • "Stage a site specific musical" when.do.we.have.the time?
  • "re-enact the Hunger Games selection with a speaker phone" all of the speaker phones have gone on holiday, or that how it feels because NO ONE has one!
  • "use a pogo stick for your commute" For the love of goodness does anyone own a pogo stick?!

The list is endless in its anxiety inducing rabble rousing around the borders of my alleged comfort zone, and not always for the obvious reasons. This is about logistics and time, and MONEY! Bloody money. Who ever said 'money won't make you happy' was obviously already stunningly rich.

The anxiety surrounding the tasks themselves has, by the end of my work shift, manifested itself as a variety of ways in which I will excuse myself from The Fun Club, or in strategies for investing my efforts in ideas generated solely by the infinitely brilliant SP & AM because they are proper artists (unlike me, who never will be), or in selling a kidney and jumping on a plane to Bali (going full Lord Lucan).

Which brings us all to this point. The now, and the understanding that my comfort zone doesn't exist in a permanent state. It is transient and scant. It is fraught with self doubt. The flimsy wind breakers around my moveable feast of a comfort zone are in an almost constant state of disarray being trampled by great swathes of speakerphones on legs chanting "you're shit and you know you are!"

So, that's where I'm at. Full disclosure.

By the next Notebook entry I will have finished binge watching archives of Blast Theory and Forced Entertainment. I will have stopped berating myself for not being Claire Marshall. I will have spent the day with my face painted like a panda. And our practice will be well and truly under way! I may even feel a little over the weather... who knows(?)

-FR (the Tolstoy of extended metaphors)

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