Yesterday I was back in Leeds to see my first full run through of Still Alice at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I wasn’t able to see them all last week due to a bit of chaos in my life🙄, so yesterday I was sooooo looking forward to seeing them all again.
I wasn’t expecting to wake up to a white world and even the taxi driver expressed surprised when he arrived in the village. I realised why as the first train trundled towards Hull and a green world was in evidence. We must have been in a tiny pocket of snow activity -ha!
As the train trundled across the Humber, the bright sky at the other side was desperately trying to force its way over…….
Trains behaved and I arrived in Leeds in plenty of time to amble to the theatre instead of the usual mad rush as Nicky Taylor had organised for another person, Maggie, who is working with Nicky on the #EveryThirdMinute festival, to meet me in the foyer. Rehearsals started half an hour later than before at 10.30.
So I arrived at the theatre and was soon met by Maggie who works with Nicky. We went across to the rehearsal room and were met by all the cast and sooo many hugs and smiles, I was overwhelmed. I then got each of the actors to sign the front of my script and say who they played – such a nice keepsake.
They all looked so nervous and were pacing the room…….Sharon, who is playing Alice, told me to be ruthless😳 – I don’t do ruthless, but I would certainly be honest🤣 They simply want to get it right and that’s the important bit for them all. That must be what makes it more than just another casting role.
We then started the full run through….
The beginning was very powerful and suddenly brought it all together for me – the relationship of Alice and Herself. I’d not quite got there in past rehearsals, but today……..perfect.
There were odd scenes I hadn’t even seen. The emotion, reality and even moments of laughter made it seem so real.
I promised I wouldn’t give anything away as so many of my friends are going to see it. But……..the time flew…..and the end was……well, emotional and brilliant……..
There was a nano second of quiet as they finished and then applause all round. Sharon went and stood by herself for a moment by the window and I went over and gave her a big hug. She immediately started making excuses, but I assured her she was brilliant. We briefly spoke of ways to make it even better and what worked well, but I’ll write down my thoughts and send it to them later. It was when she explained about Mondays, that I realised why Friday is a good day to have the first live public performance………after all the rehearsals Mon – Thurs, they’ll be fully emotionally charged to give a great first performance…..
I was elated and drained at the same time by the end. There’s still a few days left before they have their first performance on Friday and I bet it will be a relief to get out of the rehearsal room and into the actual theatre.
Wonderful, just wonderful…….
Afterwards I was whizzed off by Georgie from the Press Office to do an interview with the Yorkshire Post. They interviewed Sharon last week and then me this week on how working together worked. They’re also including a piece about my book and the amazing Every Third Minute Festival. It’s due out on Thursday apparently.
Nicky has kindly invited me to the Press night to watch the live show on the 14th and the bonus is I was able to invite Sarah, Gemma and Stuart, so a family outing it is and we’re all very excited🤩
I missed my train in Hull as the one from Leeds was delayed🙄 but ut actually gave me the opportunity to pop across to Waterstones to see if they had my book. After much searching I finally asked the assistant who told me they’d sold out last week and were just unpacking the next delivery😳…….I signed the new copies and they took a piccie of me with their review card…….☺