Yesterday a middle aged man and woman, who looked the epitome of Morningside respectability, had tears on their cheeks as the lights came up at the end of our Medea. It told of the amazing power of theatre, and the unchanging nature of human emotion and experience, to see these solid burghers so moved by a three thousand year old tale.
It was a stunning performance. The first night’s technical glitches having been almost completely resolved, the actors were fully engaged, almost scarily so in the case of Nadira. It is a peculiar thing to see someone you love so inhabited by a torn and ultimately psychotic personality, if only for seventy minutes.
I was honest with you about the first night disaster, and I am equally honest in saying how proud I am of this production now it is working. Last night was undoubtedly one of the most gripping nights in the theatre I have ever experienced. The cast are just tremendous. We had our first major critic in yesterday, and I will leave them to tell you about Nadira, but she was extraordinary. Sarah Berger is long established as an actress of great power, and her telling of the death of Creon and his daughter is truly horrifying; all the hairs on the back of my head stood up. Richard Fry is an established star of the Fringe, and to see him acting outside his one man show genre reveals new aspects of his enormous talent. His characterisation of Jason is as compelling as it is unexpected.
I feel elated this morning. But theatre requires an audience, and that we absolutely don’t have yet. I think last night’s paying customers amounted to twelve. That was always my greatest fear; how nowadays do you get an audience for something serious at the fringe, which is nowadays mostly a lucrative larkabout for people off the telly?
Paul Daniels comes out of the dressing room as we come in. He is actually very nice, friendly and unaffected. Nadira often has some amusing insights into British life, having grown up happily shielded from our popular culture. The first day she came out and whispered to me “There’s a weird old man carrying a rabbit in there”!
I hope you realise why I am not yet back to normal blogging. Hopefully once things settle…