improvised theatre

January 30, 2006

Vegetable obsession

Since we're onto the whole summing up stage, for the sake of completeness I should probably explain Andrew's reference to veg-heavy diets.

When working as an actor I have generally found that normal priorities like eating and sleeping get pushed aside by far more important things like technical rehearsals and late conversations in pubs about putting the world to rights. My usual solution to this is to subsist on a diet of pork pies and cup-a-soups - which I have found to be perfectly feasible for a whole week, possibly more. (In fact, during the musical I worked on last year I got food poisoning and did the whole run of performances on nothing but lucozade.)

And this has never been a problem before. Indeed, when working on Oedipus (previously refered to on this site as "the one where I grew a beard") I walked into a rehearsal with a pork pie and a copy of Doctor Who magazine and Phil Mulryne, a fine actor of Irish descent, said "my respect for you has just shot up." (The Doctor Who magazine was a factor in this earned respect, but the pork pie didn't go unnoticed.)

No such respect from the Division. Whenever I've tried tucking into a pork pie, I've had disapproving looks from James Aylett whilst Andrew Ormerod shakes his head making tutting noises with his teeth. Even Andrew Pontzen, usually the human approachable member of the team, tends to turn his back so as not to look as though he's party to my dietary misdemeanours.

I haven't been able to observe Amelia's response to pork pies, because not a single pork pie has passed my lips over the course of the entire run of Impromime. NOT ONE.

Instead, James Aylett has been force feeding us flapjacks for their slow-burning energy properties, and when he sees me heading for the pork pies in shops he gently diverts me to the fruit section. Even the Bowen West Theatre's sandwiches were stuffed full of vegetables, which I discovered was due to a request he made (I can hear him on the phone: "We'd like to perform at your theatre, but only if you're going to give us fruit and veg").

Even when some of us cooked in Aylett's absence, Andrew Ormerod insisted on making a veg-heavy meal.

I'm not complaining. It's not that the food hasn't been lovely throughout. But never has my diet been subjected to such scrutiny and my preferences been so criticised. Essentially, we were living under a food dictatorship. A friendly, healthy dictatorship (the sort of food regime you could imagine Ann Widdecombe putting in place were she ever to become Prime Minister). But a dictatorship nevertheless. I have rights, you know. I like pork pies.

It also means that, while I usually lose weight during a show, I suspect during this one I've put on about half a stone.

Posted by James Lark at January 30, 2006 11:38 AM


Posted by: Mary at February 1, 2006 04:15 PM