Being Mouse - by Will, the new kid on the block
Hello there! I’m Will, and I’m playing Mouse in Heaven Eyes on its 2017 tour. I can scarcely believe that it is a whole month since the beginning of my Heaven Eyes adventure. I have been really very naughty by blogging for the first time now. I said I’d begin as soon as we’d begun rehearsing, which I tried to do, but each time I wrote something, my attention would be whisked away by the prospect of sleep, food, or more rehearsing. When I’d sit back down to write, what I had previously written was out of date. But here I am, typing with intent, determined to give you at least a bit of an insight into Heaven Eyes: Round 2.
So, in case you are unaware, Heaven Eyes the stage show was created in 2014, with the cast as it is now, with the exception of me. Mouse was originally played by the actor Bob Nicholson, who is presently touring with a production of the Owl and The Pussycat, which, I have on good authority, is splendid. And I have joined TSF in his absence, and this has been a challenge and privilege unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Being only 21, I am still in the beginning stages of my career, and thus far I have always been in some sense a creator of the work. I have always begun rehearsals where nothing other than than personnel and the material to be performed has been set in stone. And sometimes not even those those things. One muddles through the piece with one’s colleagues, making sense of it all, making discoveries, gradually getting a firm collective grasp of what it is your show looks, sounds and feels like.
On this occasion, all of that happened two years ago. And we had all of a week to rehearse, or re-rehearse in everyone else’s case (besides Craig, our Stage/Company Manager, who is also new to the production). And it was my job to at once slot into the intricate structure of the show – with all its specific lighting, clockwork scene changes and its myriad of props – and also to find my own way into the story and character, that didn’t imitate Bob, and to make those discoveries organically. It certainly was tricky, and a valuable lesson, one that I’ll never forget, of how to rehearse a show that already exists – something that will no doubt crop up again somewhere down the line. It’s also a lesson for which I’m very grateful. I had much rather experience this with a company as warm and welcoming as TSF and Heaven Eyes, than some ultra-high pressure, lots-of-money-at-stake, you’d-better-be-good-or-else-I’ll-make-your-life-miserable sort of production.
In addition to the valuable professional lesson Heaven Eyes has been for me, it has also been an enormous privilege and honour. Who’d have thought that a mere 2 hour audition of a frosty Friday morning in October could lead to such an adventure. My cast mates would agree that I’m rather Mouse-like in real life when I’m discovering a new place. A continual grin, and general fascination with all things novelty. Hell, I nearly jumped out my skin in the Holiday Inn when I lifted the hair-dryer out of its holster and it turned on automatically. Being on tour, for a young, sheltered nobody like me, is quite special. I most certainly have a taste for it now, and I shall pursue it with all my strength from here on in, I expect. Discovering theatres of all different shapes and ages, tackling the various challenges of get-ins and get-outs, navigating our way through intricate one-way systems in city centres, most importantly - bouncing this terrific story off all sorts of audiences up and down the country, and last but not least, sampling the local specialities in whatever charming little public houses we can find (it pains me to recall that we did not make it to the irresistibly named The Ring O’ Bells in Lancaster). I love it all. I shall continue to love it all, I expect.
And with that, I shall bid you goodnight (it is 3:20am. Oh dear). I promise with all my heart with a cherry on top that it shall not be a whole month before you hear from me again, so do check back to see what and where we’re up to. Next up – The Square Chapel, Halifax!