In Performance: the new routine

Monday – a day when most shows are ‘dark’ for a day off. It marks the end of the 8-shows a week into Week 2 of our season. Routines have changed from the day-long, week-day intensives of rehearsal and production week to the rhythms of a night-shift worker.

My days and daily habits have switched to accommodate the new routine. So far, so good, although I still don’t seem to be able to sleep-in. Days seem to be geared towards the evening; a meet up for a coffee or lunch are possibilities but they have to be limited to save energy for what is, after all, a pretty tiring ‘night’ at the office. I try to get an afternoon nap on one-show days; this kicks the energy levels up. Dinner in the QPAC Greenroom cafeteria (or should that be breakfast time) is usually around 5pm, before the nightly routine of on-stage warmup, then a cup of tea, hair, makeup and dressing for curtain at 7.30pm. On two-show (matinée) days, the afternoon nap happens on the dressing room couch – lights out, snuggle into a pillow and under a throw for a 20 minute catnap refresher.

Interval and costume changes are routine now with hair and makeup checks and maybe another cuppa in the dressing-room – perhaps a bit of dark chocolate as a pick me up. Post-show involves a quick word with the SM, undress, good-nights to the company, chats at the Stage Door with some of our lovely audience who stay behind to say hello – perhaps a drink in the bar with friends or family who have been ‘in’ that night. Habits – all kinds have changed across the course of the 7 weeks I’ve been working on QUARTET.

My diet has changed to an almost sugar-free one. Carbs are down too. I’ve lost the few kilos I wanted to for the role and the whole process was pretty much pain-free. My alcohol intake has been pretty much at zero since Boxing Day; I planned this, as I about to be in rehearsal and knew the dinner-time glass or two of wine would get in the way of a good rest and focus. I promised myself an opening night glass or two of champagne, but it went straight to my head and the taste was pretty ordinary. Damn! I guess I’ve lost the taste for vino, but what I’ve gained has been an expertise with clever variations on a theme of sparkling mineral water.

After show, I walk home in the cool night air; it’s part of the wind-down. It usually takes me an hour to get rid of the adrenaline rush that performance always brings. Once in bed, I doubt I’m awake for longer than a minute.

And so it goes …

And here comes Week 3 and the final week in our Playhouse Season at QPAC. Next week is all about packing suitacases for a life on tour.