I’d forgotten how it feels. The morning after. The sore head, the dry mouth, the general grogginess. Waking up feeling a little disoriented as to how you got to bed & thinking did that really happen last night? The feeling of having had a great time mixed with the slight dread of the effort now required to proceed with the day ahead.
Except I’m not talking about the morning after a night on the town. I’m talking about the Post Show Hangover. The PSH. Nights on tour. I know I didn’t have 5 glasses of prosecco washed down with a rum & coke and then that tequila shot someone thought was a great idea when the DJ played La Bamba, so why do I feel like I did? What I actually did last night was perform in a two hander 90 minute show but somehow it still feels like I went out on the razz. This is my first show of this length for almost 2 years and I’d quite forgotten the energy required to do it.
I tour with Spiltmilk Dance (they are amazing by the way check out their website here) who do LOTS of rural touring. Village halls, community spaces, churches, libraries, leisure centres, you name it we’ve done it. From cupboards to toilets, and church offices to glory holes* we’ve used every kind of space available for getting ready for shows. And this is only my second of the big tours, so the rest of the team have got way more great stories & anecdotes!
Last night was my first show of the current work Desert Island Flicks with the fabulous Sarah, co-artistic director of the company. Rehearsals were spread throughout January & having focused my energy on learning the show I’d given no thought as to how I might feel today. Well why would I? I’m not paid to think about today. Today isn’t the important bit, last night was. Only we have got another show tonight…
I feel hungover. Did I mention that?
I remember touring The Little Love Cabaret in 2018 & wandering around Diss in Norfolk when we had a run of shows down there. A lovely little town. Rhiannon one of the guest artists found a skirt in a charity shop & suggested I buy it. Brown corduroy. Originally from M&S. Bargain. I like that skirt. It reminds me of a nice day out with nice people but dying inside feeling hungover as hell. If anyone has any photos from that day I’d be at the back downing an orange lucozade.
I’m 30 now. My body is ageing. Really? Did you just write that? Pipe down ridiculous thought. My PSH’s were just as bad at 20 as they are at 30. What I’m saying here is that I’d forgotten from the last tour how they feel and actually that they are even a thing. Now I know they are definitely a thing. For me anyway. I’ve done shows since then but they’ve been day time performances at festivals & in care homes, scratch nights & generally just smaller shows with a lot less gear.
I can’t believe how rough I feel. I’ve got blurry eyes. I was once told the amount of adrenaline performers can use on stage and the affect it has is equivalent to being in a minor car crash. I totally believe that. Sounds dramatic (and might piss off people who’ve experienced a minor car crash because we’re inflicting this on ourselves) but then again we do deal in the dramatics don’t we darlings? And all that jazzzzzz.
Last night I got home at midnight. Had a cup of tea, 2 slices of toast & a cream egg. A shower, where I spent at least 4 minutes scrubbing my stage lipstick off & got into bed at 1am. I woke up at 8.45am & assuming I was in a deep sleep by 1.30 (who are we kidding, deep sleep by 10 past more like) that gives me a total of 8.15 hours sleep. The recommended daily amount and then some. So why do I feel so rough? What am I complaining about?? You got the sleep didn’t you??? Yes but I guess that’s not taking into consideration what I did in the 8 hours leading up to getting the sleep. Because as well as the 90 minutes performance, theres a whole chunk of physical prep going on before and after…
Theres the get in & the get out. Unloading the van. Lifting the tech boxes. Carrying lighting stands. Assembling the stage. Tying the curtain. Hoisting the curtain rail. Placing the cinema chairs. Hooking the TV screen. Setting the props. Nervous poo. Walk through. Run through. Nervous poo. Warm up. Hair. Make Up. Nervous poo. Costume. Set, ready, match, Go. Bow. Quick bite. Quick drink. Change. Tidy the props. Unhook the TV. Remove the cinema chairs. Lower the curtain rail. Untie the curtain etc in reverse order…
Yep, thats showbiz baby! And I love it.
Right enough of this hangover shock. Time for some brunch, a bath & yoga. That’ll get me where I need to be, ready to spring into action for tonights block buster show. Bring it on!
Some snaps of us last night pre and post show (note the very happy & pleased but tired looking eyes in the after picture!)
* Glory Hole definition: an untidy room or cupboard used for storage (there are other definitions but I’m pretty sure the local promoter meant this one) *