THE 14th TALE: Half Way Tour// Howdy Pardners! It tis been a whirl winding month, I’ve been on more trains than a monsoon has rain, up and down the country telling THE 14th TALE. I’ve also being sending ‘tour diary’ entries to my Facebook contingent and will try to edit down four mails worth of magic into this, retaining the dazzle, wit and insight that I rehearse to hell and try to sound spontaneous. But I will begin with a... SPECIAL OFFER Tonight & Wednesday// On Monday 19th & Wednesday 21st / 2 for 1 deal to see the play, The 14th Tale /call the BAC box office and quote ‘Friends of Fuel!’ Mail 1 // 30 Sept//
As I type this I am en route to Stockton on Tees. To my right is my touring production manager - Rob, and opposite Thierry, my director. We have 3 laptops, 24 tickets, 6 bags, 4 pairs of shoes and 13 boxer shorts between us - more testosterone here than at a He-man convention - throw in the mix of theatre, poetry and Thierry’s Frenchness and we make for a interesting trio forming TEAM INUA - as Rob calls it.
We arrive at 9pm, enough time to eat, drink and work out a secret handshake. Tomorrow is the first show, 1 out of 23 and I’m nervous. The play has stayed the same since Edinburgh, save for some positioning and the odd text edit here and there. After Stockton, we go to Manchester and if all goes to plan, when I arrive there’ll be a brown box containing copies of my third book - the script for The 14th Tale!
Mail 2 // 4 Oct Last 3 days have blurred by. Firstly, the high art conversation/relationships between Thierry, Rob and I has diminished into a loose lipped medley of toilet humour and one-upmanship. E.g last night, after tearing up the Manchester shows, we wanted to party, hard. This meant returning to the theatre-turned-club at midnight and gyrating haphazardly. By 2.30, I was asleep in the corner. Rob was flagging, but Thierry held his own till the very end. We crawled into bed at 3, woke to a hurried breakfast at 7.50, caught the 9.20 from Manchester, which brings us up to speed, me typing on a train back to London.
The first show was an eye opener - pretty low turn out but we rocked it! Those who came Loved it. We taxied back to the hotel for a drink, or three then bedded down for Manchester the following day. We arrived at midday, made straight for the Contact and began setting up. The show went well, I made two grown men cry - a crude way of judging, but it works for me! At 3pm the following day, I met Martin Roberts at the Theatre. The show that eve would be challenging - a sign interpreted performance - and we didn't want Martin in a corner of the stage, but moving about within the play. We knuckled down and worked on his positioning and when the time came, took the stage vibrating nervous energy. How did it go?
AMAZING. In the post show q&a, the hearing-impaired audience thanked us zealously for mixing Martin into the story. Thierry was so pleased with the show, his smile was wider than a welcome mat, and as for me I was chuffed I’d told the story well.
Mail 3 // 12th Oct Dudes, Dudettes, the in-betweens and indebted, I’ve had the wildest week’s worth of work, taught, gigged, wrote, graphic designed and still got to spend lots of time with my lady. I have two lil shows before I go, tomorrow at ‘Writer’s Block’ and one on Wed, then I hit the road again with the 14th Tale. Honestly, I am raring to go... the long line of trouble makers beckon... on the 15th I’m in Maiden Head, 16th & 17th in Bath, after which I’ll return for the two-week-run at the BAC in London. - please book in advance, if it is at all possible, come to the early shows in the run, the first couple of days are crucial as the press will be there, and mob mentality works wonders - i.e. if a bunch are people having a good time, the freak in the center scowling is more inclined to smile. Simple as. Will be hitting you later this week.
Mail 4 // 18th Oct I joined a rush hour London with two Eastpacks full of books and clothes, and with Basil my chair - prop for the show. Basil is heavy, takes a lot of space, not the most commuter friendly for rush hour. If looks could kill, the daggers thrown at me... in fact, looks did kill. Bits of myself are splashed all the way to Paddington Station, where we got the train to Maidenhead, the first stop. That night. I made a 65 yr old gentleman cackle so much, he cried... but could not dwell on my victory over the elderly as we had to run outta there sharpish, to Bath the next stop. The show again went well, made a maiden cry, but wasn’t completely satisfied with my performance.
The hotel we stayed at is the weirdest I have been to, like something out of a Jane Austen novel, but with wireless internet and surround sound system. I stayed up late am watching rubbish on t.v. woke at 8 and rushed down for breakfast - wearing a bathrobe. Now, apparently, this is not proper etiquette - to wear a bathrobe to breakfast, but I’m a bush man, what!? - never pretended else, rocked it proudly. The audience that night were more conservative, but I gave a MUCH better controlled performance and again, made my maidens cry, my tally should be in the 100s now.//
That’s all folks, that bring us up to the present day, with the first show tonight. Thanks for reading! See you at the BAC. // BAC, 8.30pm | Mon 19th – Sat 31st Oct (exc 25th) // Lavender Hill, London, Sw11 5TN // www.bac.org.uk | 020 7223 2223