This is the second time I have written and performed a one woman show. My first show was called Red Hat No Nickers telling the life story of Dolly Slatemen.
It is something I will go back to as I feel I haven’t quite finished it, a bit like when you’ve started a book and never found out the ending. Dolly does make an appearance in Her and The Change In Me and it was very reassuring to know she was there. I can slip into that character quite easily now, we have performed on numerous occasions and in the most surrealist environments. But an opening night of a new show….
Well that is the scariest thing ever, you just don’t know how it will be received. I was very fortunate to have an amazing audience, they threw themselves into the show. I asked them about symptoms and one fabulous lady shouted out buffering. “My mind buffers” such a great way to describe brain fog. We laughed at some points and then some cried at some points – I hope it wasn’t my performance. (That’s a joke by the way) For me thou, the most memorable thing was, I performed as me. Now, that might not sound so crazy to you, but for me….Well it’s something I have battled with for years. Now, I sound like I’ve been performing for as long as Judi Dench. When in reality it’s only been for around seven years. The ironic thing is, when people meet me, because I’m not fresh out of drama school and a bit more (coughs) mature. I always get the feeling that they think I am far more experienced than I actually am. My mantra over the last decade has been…..
fake it till you make it
I won’t say it works all the time, I mean I wouldn’t get up on stage and belt out the Nessan Dorma. But I have got up and sang The girl from Ipanema, note I didn’t say I was any good. A word of advice here, don’t ever sing Always look on the bright side of life, that’s a nightmare. I guess the point I’m trying to make here, is all this time I was nervous of being me. But if I faked it, it worked. I don’t mean fake your personality but fake how you feel, tell yourself – I am not nervous, I am finding it really enjoyable, I can do this. After a small time I did find it really enjoyable, the nerves are always there but I was relieved I wasn’t a self masochist after all.
Here comes the really weird bit – it’s Dolly Slatemen I have to thank for that. If she hadn’t come along in my peri menopause I wouldn’t be sitting here, writing this blog, preparing for the next show in five days time. Quick panic attack, that’s not a menopausal one (I think) Quickly I remember the positives of the first show, yes people really enjoyed it and yes it was a great atmosphere. So back off panic stations, I’ve got this she says clinching her pelvic floors.
Another thing I do when I’m a little less confident, is to buy stuff to make me feel more equipped. So for example today, I bought a fluorescent pair of LED pouting lips. I know, why? Well they were £2.99 and I’m sure they will come in useful somewhere on the set. I’m certain this is a menopause symptom, just buying random shit. This thought has made me remember my nan with her thick rimmed glasses and extravagant hats. She practically lived in Romford market, with a habit of buying bargain scraps of material. To enhance her self made dressmaking status.
Home made dress patterns were scattered everywhere in the house. With a singer sewing machine sat in the corner, at the bottom of the garden a shed full of bargain scraps of material waited patiently for the next big project. I can recall the times me and my sister would stand on a chair flinching, because of the pins she stuck in us designing a new outfit. She couldn’t quite see the difference (literally) between our skin and the cloth. We dreaded, when she announced she would make us another dress. The relief we felt when she came back from the market, added that bargain piece of the material to the pile in the shed was immense. We knew it would never see the light of day again, and automatically stopped flinching. See random shit. It must be hereditary because I do the same thing with note books. I keep buying them, thinking they’ll help me write a masterpiece. They lie there empty reminding me of my inadequacies. Whilst I answer the phone and end up writing messages not on the new shiny notebook screaming at me “Great Ideas” but on something I shouldn’t. Like someones college work, or someones photo. Before you say anything, I can’t see the notes on my iPhone, without the glasses I keep forgetting I have to wear now.
I did however buy an outfit recently to stop any hot sweats, as you can see I am having one right there. I’m going to tell you about this experience as the product did make me feel different. I saw an image of Meg Mathews from http://www.megsmenopause.com and I thought I can look like that. So I made a purchase from a company called http://www.webecome.co.uk and no, I haven’t hit celeb status where I get free merchandise. So, this company claims the clothing helps with hot sweats. I couldn’t think of a better way to try it out than my opening night. I bought the leggings and long sleeved top, black of course. The thought of my butt cheeks, in white leggings on stage has just given me a hot sweat. When the goods arrived they are packaged very nicely and would make a great present. When I unwrapped them, I thought the leggings wouldn’t get on my arm, let alone my legs. But after a while I stopped sulking and went back to them. I thought I might as well try them on, no one was in. I would not be seen trying to shoe horn myself into them. To my surprise they fit perfectly, feeling like a second skin. Throughout the whole performance I felt very comfortable and yes, it really did draw the sweat away from you. So I feel I have road tested them for you lot and can recommend. If you do get them, let me know what you think.