I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written, which it probably hasn’t been at all. But since I’ve last written, there has been one huge update in my circumstances – at long last, rehearsals have begun.
I write this now from NIDA, or the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, and the creative birthplace of amazing Australian actors such as Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Mel Gibson, and Geoffrey Rush. Which technically has nothing to do with us, as we’re just renting their space. And by that, I mean two studios that are too small, and two offices that are so riddled with strange technical quirks that Mark, the Company Manager, hypothesized that the school must be built on a burial ground of some kind (he also wins the ‘best phrase of the week’ award with his comment that his stapler had ‘gone walkabout’, prompting the image of a small grey office supply seeking its deep spiritual center).
But I am here, in a makeshift office, while but a few feet away twenty nine Australians with fake tails tied around their waists sing a song about being cats, and I couldn’t be happier. There are few things I love more in the world than being around rehearsals, and after six weeks of staring at headshots, and booking flights, and knowing people only by their per diem requirements, it’s good to be able to go see this all happen. Or go see this all begin, I should say.
That being said, it is odd doing what I am doing now, compared to what I usually do. Normally, (well, ideally), I am in the room with rehearsals more. Now, I am firmly in the office, unless I sneak out, which I manage to do as much as possible. And I miss that part of it, although I know when we actually take off this will all be moot, as the difference between a company management office and a rehearsal room is much greater than the difference between a company management office and a backstage, I have found. But for now, it is a little frustrating – I am so close, and yet discinctly separate.
This goes for the actors, too, which is in many ways worse. I know that I will get to know all of these people well over the coming months, when we are all on the same bus ride from Taipei to Kaohsiung, and at the same theater every day, and the only ones who speak English at the new year’s eve ball. But right now, they are over there, and taking their breaks together, and chatting when they’re not called, and generally bonding with each other. And I am, at best, standing in the corner watching them rehearse, or asking them for their passport info. The fridge is in our office, which is an asset as it means that they cannot get their food without an informal visit, but I am still tempted to go in on a break and say, ‘could everyone get me their visa information forms? And also, I wanted to remind everyone that smoking anywhere on the NIDA campus is strictly forbidden, as is establishing little private jokes or establishing other friend-type bonds. When we travel, that will be fine, but until then, no bonding at all please. And also, could nobody flirt with the cute Rum Tum Tugger until I’ve had a chance to? Thanks.’