Saturday, 23 March 2013

On The Road

This is Genevieve's second blog from her tour with Translations. The play has had great reviews so far and she is really enjoying the acting and the adventure of it all. 

"And we're off! Now we're really started, nothing will stop you now, nothing in the wide world." (Manus to Sarah, 'Translations')

Last week, I talked about the big step into the unknown. We kicked off with opening night in Derry last Wednesday and so far, we've been blessed with good reviews. That frightening (and ultimately unavoidable) travel onto stage last week has so far reaped wonderful things. The adrenaline which keeps me awake at night, the buzz and energy one constantly feeds off from the audience, the need to keep a straight face when the audience erupts in laughter, the hugs backstage, the curtain call, the frantic and harried concentration required at a constant pace morning, afternoon and evening. It's all a massive massive headrush. It's addictive and when at the height of a rollercoaster, you want to hold onto every sensation and thrill for as long as you possibly can.

Not every actor feels this way. And certainly some of the more established actors I have the privilege to be surrounded by restrain from emoting quite on this scale. It's finding a balance between bringing the energy to the performance and galloping a horse at full pace until it runs out of steam. It's holding a little part of yourself back from becoming bosom buddies with every member of cast and crew. It's picking and choosing your moments, time with the director, feeling your way slowly around difficult parts of the script. Pitching your voice at 80% not blasting away at 100% full volume. The former seems far more sensible than the latter. And it's a learning curve I'm benefiting from - observing the old and the new. But there's this unavoidable anarchy that you simply have to throw yourself into when you go on your first professional tour, drinking (not literally) in every fiber of existence, a zest for new places and new experiences. Forgive me for sounding naff...but it is what it is and I am antithetic to avoid it whilst it's here. 

So now we're in Cork. Cork is a strange place, known as the 'rebel city' and it shows - a bizarre confluence of buildings from every historical period one can name, suggesting a resistance to change meant no singular trend or influence ever made a permanent mark on this city. Narrow Victorian cobblestone streets, Georgian townhouses mixed with medieval Cathedrals and startlingly bright modern shops and restaurants pasted along the River Lee. A hodgepodge which resonates with a strange harmony, and one which Corkonians take a peculiar pride in. 

I berated myself slightly when I left Derry that I had not really made much effort to explore its culture - the museums, galleries, the city walls. But when I was sitting on the train, I realised that I had experienced it in its best and truest essence - simply by sitting in the cafes, walking around, taking that moment to just stop and breathe - take it all in. I am loathe to try and describe a place in its entirety because in my opinion museums, galleries, art, writings can only ever bring to life one aspect, one experience of a place. No matter how we try to bring it together, the sum of all parts can never truly be expressed. 

The essence of a place, an experience, is one I try to hold onto. I have no talent for remembering best friend at school has this incredible gift of recollecting daft ideas, embarrassing episodes from the days we were young and I often envy her this talent to repeat words and stories verbatim. But I cherish this staying power of essence, scents and perfumes that I can constantly draw on for comfort and motivation when life feels rather cold and bleak. 

I'm a stranger in this eclectic city...and yes, I am surrounded by fantastic people - cast and crew and I am riding that rollercoaster with full steam but I can't but help missing the familiarity of home. Home comforts, family. Those essences so familiar and repeated forward and backwards, inside and out all of our lives. The road can be a lonely place and I guess that's why people clamour for routines and stability, the same social circles. Change is to many, a frightening thing. Home is a safe place. 

On the road, I treasure the opportunity to reflect on home, family and friends and how much they all mean to me. Sometimes one can't see a good thing even when it's staring at you in the face. And a few hundred miles away, on tour with 'Translations' - I am blessed with the best of both worlds - knowing where my heart belongs and living my dream. And I will not shy away from immersing myself in the experience.

"I took the road less travelled by and that has made all the difference" (Robert Frost) 

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