My creative journey: The ‘other’ phallic phase…

My theory worked.  Sunday’s blog post got the highest traffic on this site so far.  And I’m guessing that it was to do with a certain word in the title …

Actually, on my way home from rehearsal, I did wonder if I’ve got people a tad confused with my description of the phallic phase in my creative journey. You see, I have a more pressing phallic phase going on at the moment; the painting was a mere distraction during my hours at work that begs more exploration when I have time.  The other phase is with the afore-mentioned Charming On-Stage Lover in the production of The Memory of Water (and for those who want to be specific, check out the stage directions on page 32) .

I am playing the central character, Mary.  Although I’m probably competing with a bed for that honour.  The central focus of the set; the bed seems to play a silent, yet symbolic role of its own, with our characters sitting on it, lying on it, kissing on it, standing on it, smoking dope and drinking whisky whilst on it, crying on it, laughing on it, finding things in it, and revealing their innermost thoughts while slumped against it.

I spend the first 20 or so pages trying to sleep, before giving up and getting out of bed for a while.  But by page 27 I’m back there, and trying to avoid being intimate with my married boyfriend in what is, after all, my dead mother’s bed.

The company I am performing with are lucky enough to have their own 77-seater theatre and so we have the luxury of being able to not only rehearse in our performance space but also to see the set coming to life around us.

When I got to rehearsal on Monday night the bed had evolved yet again.  Made to measure to fit the stage by our talented set designer, the bed had started off as a basic slatted bed frame, uncomfortable to sit on, let alone lie on.  The only soft furnishings we had to hand in the early weeks of rehearsals were a scratchy old blanket, the kind that left tiny fibres on anything that touched it; and the seat cushions from the theatre bar.  Gradually the bed was transformed by our fantastic team; its first layer – a mattress – making a welcome appearance, followed fairly quickly by a layer of duvet and pillows.  Then on Monday, a flowery sheet, duvet cover and textured scatter cushions were added as a final decorative layer.  This has completed the bed’s distinct look and allowed the final transparent layer to settle on the room –  the ghost of my character’s mother who lingers until Mary’s traumatic secret is revealed.

So it seems I need to do my damnedest to upstage the bed.  Although, as Charming On-Stage Lover’s character would say, “It’s all complete bollocks, of course. Except…”

“Except what?”

All those layers on the bed make pages 27-32 a lot more comfortable.


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