It's Saturday lunch time. I'm sat on the train from Merthyr to Cardiff contemplating the last of our Saturday morning rehearsals, the ensuing tech and opening next week of NTW's all female Mother Courage.
I'm a Mum to a teenager about to start her GCSE's, a partner, a home runner, a teacher, an actress and a pet owner.....it's an hour and a half commute either way to rehearsals in Merthyr (if I don't get a lift from the utterly incorrigibly delightful Donna Edwards) and a full day of rehearsals in between. I'm knackered. And I'm feeling emotional and elated. This job is a revelation in so many ways. When I told friends I got the job and it was all female, all over 40 and all seriously seasoned, experienced, actresses a common response was "God Help You All....there'll be some ego's, opinions and hormones flying round that rehearsal room!". I must admit, I had my reservations myself, mostly connected to my own inadequacy issues and "when will they find out I'm actually hopeless?" actor syndrome. Any reservations I had have been obliterated. These women are a joy. Supportive, encouraging, intelligent, humble, talented and hilarious! We have laughed and ranted and debated and there's even been the odd tear, through a mutual understanding, unity and common bond. We're women, were over 40 and we're actresses. We're usually up against each other competing for that one lonely part (if there's one at all!).
Trying to find work as an actor is hard at the best of times. When you're female, it's even harder and when your over 40 it's nigh on impossible to survive, let alone support a family too. I could go on and on about this topic ad infinitum.....I digress. To have 9 of us in one company is, pardon my language, fucking brilliant! And also fascinating watching the implications of the casting on the piece.
As with opening any show, I'm hoping and worrying about whether people will like it but with this one it's different. We couldn't have worked any harder and I, for one, will be proud to open on Thursday and be part of such an amazing company of incredible women, not least for the tenacity of spirit shown to have survived in this industry so long and they're own personal battles to stay there. They're all brilliant. What a privilege. Cheers John! Here's to Mother Courage and her women fighting their own 30 year (and longer!) wars.