Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Something changed. Arriving at the Menier Chocolate Factory, there was no table in the rehearsal room. Instead - a myriad strips of gaffer tape marked imaginary doors and tables and cauldrons. It was as if the room had been invaded by an army of white slugs (albeit it 2D and differing lengths). The trolleys of coffee and doughnuts, thank God, remained.
The director began the day with good news. She referred us to our rehearsal schedules. Although today she planned to blitz through Act One and Act Two, Friday had been reserved for some of the more ‘important’ scenes between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. That meant I got another free day. I gripped my fist with excitement. It meant that I could go out drinking with impunity.
This newfound cheer invested me with added impetus. I wowed all in each of my small appearances. Even Rosalind saw fit to approach me at morning break and praise my acting. I was a little hazy on a few lines and the director made sure she castigated me in front of the whole party.
At lunch Macbeth asked us to conjugate cross-legged in a circle and listen to some words. He spoke about the war in Iraq. He told us that the crimes being committed should inform our interpretation of the play.
I piped up and told him that this was ridiculous, that he was jumping on a bandwagon. He told me that he’d rather be on a bandwagon than a tank. I told him that he didn't make any sense. The director told me to shut up. I noted what Macbeth said:
Is Macbeth so distant from Tony Blair? Influenced by a foreign, evil party, he allows power to overwhelm his senses and commits bloodthirsty acts of war. Our play should be a play about politics, about the great injustices that our so-called leaders commit in our name. Our play should aim to open the minds of the dull public. We should aim to make a difference, talent. For what other reason did we all become artists?
I became an actor largely for the ladies and the adoration. I admit this to you, Reader.
One of the witches cried when Macbeth concluded his spiel. A few other losers began to clap. I excused myself to go to the toilet. Upon returning, the whole cast and crew were sat in a circle, heads bowed, holding the hands of those on either side. Standing alone behind them, I drank some coffee and ate the last doughnut. A few turned to look and shake their heads.
The director dismissed us with a reminder that the day after tomorrow would feature a complete run-through of Acts Three and Four, and would also see our “exciting” secret present exchange. To make us feel like a family, the director had allocated us a name each and briefed us to buy that individual a present. Gift making made one feel warm, she said, and she wanted to cultivate such warmness. My recipient was to be the big man Macbeth himself.
On the way out, I told Macduff that this was a Good Thing and, as presents were given anonymously, I would buy the twat something awful.
”Don’t. Try and get on with him. He’s not a bad chap,” said Macduff. “He’s been on BBC2.”
“He’s a portentous prick,” I corrected. “All that shit about Iraq.”
Macduff shrugged his shoulders and walked the opposite way along the Thames.
I wandered about Southwark for a while until I came upon the variety of establishment I was after.
Inside, I disregarded the dark walls. They were shocked with images and objects created by minds of the perverted. Pink, they were, and filthy. But without thought of embarrassment, I approached the shaven-headed minx at the cash register and asked her for the ugliest, largest dildo that they stocked. She smiled, I told her it was for a friend, and she disappeared through brown beads (strangely large, they were) into some back room of degradation.
She returned with a lengthy, black cardboard box – the kind one might expect musicians to keep their trumpets in. There was no label – only one phrase, writ bright in white, ‘The Dark Destroyer’. She eased the box open and slid out the phallus.
It was horrendous, Reader. It didn’t look like a penis. Lying on the cash desk, it seemed more like a dead, deformed boa constructor (albeit a black and veiny one). I have ‘known’ many a woman, and its monstrous dimensions could have offered no practical application.
The woman ran her hand along its length and sucked the metal bar that struck through her tongue (only means one thing). I asked ‘how much?’
It was forty pounds - forty pounds more than I wanted to spend on MacPrick. I hesitated; the woman picked up a magazine entitled ‘Muchachos’, and I pictured Macbeth’s face upon opening the present.
Yes. It would be a hundred pounds well spent, never mind forty.
“Excellent,” I said. “I’ll take that.”
She seized my wrinkled twenties.
“And could you wrap it?” I asked with a sweet tone, designed to persuade.
She could, she said, but she wouldn’t, she said. I was handed a brown paper bag and had to shove the black box in myself.
I don’t suppose the standard of service makes much difference to the likelihood of customer return in sex shops. Still, I would have been more inclined to come back if she’d acted a little more friendly.
Posted by Kay Richardson at 20:33