Well fed and delirious in Britain. The accommodations provided by SANDS are very stylish, and I only feel marginally very dumb for blowing £4 so I could drop a blog entry from their coffee bar.
But it was a great, great day. Sure, I despaired in the middle of the night, trying desperately to sleep sitting up (eyeshades and earplugs notwithstanding) sweat running down both sides, it was so fricking hot. I hit the call button in the middle of the night, two stewards ran to my attention as I croaked "...water..?" And bless them, one foresaw my need, a tiny cup of H2O in their dainty hand.
Henrik and Lydia got us from Heathrow and took us to our hotel ... there were technical glitches every step of the way, it should be said. We were booked into the same seat (just an error in printing, it turned out, Kelly did not need to sit in my lap) and when we got to the hotel, for some reason they just cancelled one of our rooms.
Once straightened I showered and shaved (I am not an animal!) and we headed over to what was supposed to be a quick tech and then lunch. It was along tech, though it must be said that ALbert, our man at the International Students House, was very helpful, getting everything we were lacking together. So was Erica S. from SANDS, who was our guiding force from the moment we hit the place.
The show was one of my favorites in a long time - because for the first time in a long time, I was performing for fellow bereaved parents, and not medical practitioners. It helps when you know from the get-go that the crowd is with you and most likely not to turn.
What is hard is maintaining a sense of casualness when I perform the show once every six months. No one cares, I think, that I get a word or two wrong - how do they know? The playwright might know, but he'll just have to suck it. But it is hard to feel entirely comfortable, even when I know every word.
Today was much more loose. I wasn't educating anyone, if anything I was reflecting back to a sympathetic crowd things they already knew too well. It alters the delivery. Like we're all on the inside of a bad joke.
One question I got after (and there were many great questions) was whether British audiences receive it differently than American ones. Honestly, other than thinking the "much, much ... smaller" joke is funnier than Americans (there's that British self-deprecation) I said there really wasn't. Between types of people - parents vs. professionals, yes, or radical fringe theater goers, but not nationalities.
Erica, Neal L., Kelly and I had champagne in plastic cups back at SANDS headquarters to celebrate a successful day (they had many more things on their agenda than just this show, though it was, apparently, a capper) and spoke of the future, the past, and what Kelly and I might do tonight.
Fish, chips, bitters and Guinness, a walk down and up Oxford Street, and an early night, that's what.
Private to Toni: If you see this tonight, tell the kids I miss and love them very much, and I'll look in on them after bedtime tomorrow night. I miss and love you, too.