After a brilliant opening week of Carrie's War at the Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford, we were ready to tour. Now touring isn't for everyone. Lots of actors like to do exactly the same thing, in the same place every night. Which is absolutely fine! But I and many of the other actors in the company love getting to a new theatre, finding your way around, sussing the run round (which in some theatres was mental, and involved running at full pelt under the stage to get to the other side in time!), working out your entrances, your quick changes and adapting the play to a new space. It really keeps you on your toes, and ensures you never get complacent and end up just going through the motions, as you are always having to be alert and thinking about your next step. This has caused some hilarious moments though, with some exits where there weren't exits and running front of house to get to stage left whilst doing a quick change!
As fun as touring is, it is bloody hard work! We did a mixture of one, two and three day runs in each venue. Three days are a luxury, giving you a chance to explore the town you are in and relax with the company. Two days are fine, giving you one sleep between get-in and get-out and breakfast out on day two. But one day runs are hardcore! Tim and Vicky would get to the venue for 9:00am, some occasions meaning leaving at 6:00am, and spend the day working non stop getting the set up, rigging and focusing lights, sorting sound and everything that needs to happen before the actors stroll on at 5:00pm. Words cannot describe how hard they worked. I would arrive with the Guildford actors at around 1:00pm (usually a little deaf from a journey in the car with Nigel and Andy singing at the top of their voices!) and sort dressing rooms, hunt down the washing machines, see how many items of clothing I could fit on one hanger as there are NEVER ANY HANGERS, no matter how many I buy, check into the hotel then sort myself for the show. By this point I was usually ready for a nap just as the show went up! I also started a new job during the tour, because apparently I didn't have enough to do. So whenever I wasn't in the theatre playing Carrie, I was training and starting my new job. All this added up to a very VERY tired Amy!
When you're knackered it's hard to find the energy to run about the stage playing an excitable 12 year old who is in every scene of the show. Some nights as I was stood waiting for the curtain to go up I wondered how on earth I would get through this. But I did, and loved it! The audiences have been wonderful, and the feedback has blown me away. Here's a selection of the emails and tweets we've been sent:
'The acting was brilliant and the simple staging was really effective as was the sound. The beautiful singing was very moving.Thank you so much for a fantastic evening. We'll definitely look out for further productions from your company.'
'I have really fond memories of both the book and the 1974 BBC adaptation, and seeing it performed on stage by you in such a clever and entertaining way was wonderful.'
'I have just returned from seeing your production of Carries War at The Berry Theatre, Hedge End, and wanted to tell you how fantastic I thought it was. It was incredibly well acted, and very moving.'@harlowplayhouse We loved Carrie's War! Think I brought the youngest members of the audience (5 and 2.5!), but they were mesmerised....'I was totally immersed in the play and the acting quality was superb. Even the stage transformations were executed with discretion and precision.'Well there's no rest for the wicked, and we're already starting the cycle again, planning what to do next year....In the meantime it's time to get those home fires burning again!