Ten down, fifteen to go. I refer to the theatrical venues in which Team TGWTIC (The Girl With The Iron Claws… must find pithier tag) are currently leaving their scorch marks.
As small scale tours go, despite taking a few scheduled days off here and there, it’s been pretty intense. The hour-long rollercoaster ride – featuring the likes of a troll queen (her bark is as scary as her bite), a handsome king (a proper fittie!) and a ‘wayward’ daughter – goes by quicker than you can say Team Claws. Our stage manager deserves particular kudos for adapting so adeptly to each space.
It’s not all been plain sailing. Just as us actors inevitably evolve ourselves and our characters through the journey of the tour, the layout and technical capabilities of each theatre contribute to that process. There’s nothing a missing stage manager, scant lighting rigs and a vandalised truck will do to dent our spirits! Fortunately we’re all extremely proud of Claws, as is evidenced by the combined volume of sweat seen when we return to the stage for our encores.
Speaking of encores, I’m reminded of the post-show talk that I, Ffion, Paul and Joe conducted with the wonderfully receptive residents of Norwich Playhouse. Did you know there are only 30 or so palantypists in the world? Perhaps more importantly, would you like to know what one is? She sits, hidden in the wings (so as to hear the action as well as possible without distracting) and, similar to a captioner, renders approximately two hundred words per minute onto a keyboard which converts its phonetic chords onto a computer and then onto the caption screen for your pleasure. I admired her all the more after being asked about a particular puppet I operate in the show. The question belonged to a young man who must certainly have been skimming the minimum age limit for TGWTIC. I was explaining to him the challenges I face when playing both sisters simultaneously and opted to describe it as a “head-messer-upper”. Ms Palantypist, I never did catch your name, and barely glimpsed your shrouded figure sandwiched between two black flats… but I dedicate this article to you!
Tomorrow is my day off and I sit here writing this wondering how I shall fill it. Will I take a stroll to my local Tesco (to cook food that can actually be eaten off a plate) and, without thinking, start heaving heavy boxes from its loading bay? Will fellow tube passengers avoid my eyes when my hands start puppeteering the air? In truth, I’ll probably just silence my phone and sleep until the police sirens and honking horns of South East London wake me. Tunbridge Wells, you were a lovely audience but the devil lives there and he bought the mattress for the hotel room I stayed in last night.
See you on the road, folks!
Image credit: Patrick Baldwin
The Girl with the Iron Claws is currently touring. Visit The Wrong Crowd’s website for dates and ticket information.