Monday, October 17, 2011

tour diary #3 - traverse

October 13, 2011

I wake nursing a slight cold I picked up wandering Berwick yesterday and sit in the bright kitchen alone drinking coffee and scanning the news sites, marveling at the ascendancy of Herman Cain and then of course searching high and low for any new reviews of the show. Nothing, which is just fine.

We play the Traverse tonight, a theater exactly as old as I am, formed in 1963 and the home of new writing here in Scotland. We started the Horse Country tour here in January of 2003, a great space with the best theater bar in town.

We run lines in the kitchen and then drive up to the Traverse at four, check out the nicest dressing rooms and green room we’ll see for the entire tour and then downstairs to the theater. It’s the only place we’re playing where they’re leaving the fixed seating in as they have an afternoon show each day we’re here. Camilla has managed to get four tables on the deck, squeezed up tight against our stage, but it looks like it will work. Kevin and the technicians are setting the lights and they’re running a little behind so we sit and talk in the shifting darkness, talking through the changes which mostly involve how Nancy and Catherine can move through the crowd during the interview sections and the horsemen cabaret walk bits.

Nancy and I have an early dinner at Shakespeare’s, a pub across the road from the theater. I remember the place from eight years ago when it was thick with cigarette smoke and alive with rugby enthusiasts shouting at the enormous television screens mounted on all the walls. It’s quieter and cleaner now and the clientele sit singly at tables, staring silently at a cricket match with the volume turned down.

Back to the theater and an audience piles in, quickly filling up the tables and spilling into the fixed seating in the back. Another mixed crowd, teenagers, older couples and some friends from festivals past. Critics are in again tonight, the Traverse being a sort of second opening, which is good for us with the benefit of six shows under our collective belt.

A good show, lots of laughter early, but the performers seem tired and are working a little too hard. Big applause at the end and friends in the bar afterwards are generous with what sounds like honest praise. Pete and I know better but are happy with the response. The show is a tightrope and our balance was off tonight, we’ll nail it tonight or tomorrow.

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