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How does "Sleeping Beauty" sleep: pre-first-night nerves

By FAM :: 30 January 2006

There is nothing quite like the last days in the run-up to a major project to ruin a good night's sleep, not to mention put a serious strain on domestic relationships.

Of course one could rest in the cosy knowledge that a scriptwriter has little to no control over the approach the director has chosen, what set and costume designers have gone for or how the actors deliver their lines. All this is out of my hands. But it doesn't work like that, because it is now that all the things I wasn't too sure about, if they actually had heads, ugly to boot, would raise them. All the moments of insecurity when I was cobbling together the text come rushing back now. The devices I used to ensure that the characters and their motivation are as credible as the story allows, the tricks I resorted to, cheap to the last one, to make the logic in the action at least rudimentarily convincing, the puns and punchlines I hoped would add spice and sparkle, the plot twists inserted to accomodate the elements that had to be in there, they all come rushing back in those endless minutes and hours between midnight and the far too early start in the morning and wreak havoc with any hope that before the alarm goes off there will be a few moments of relaxation; I wouldn't even ask for sleep.

Of course, I also realise at such times how foolish it was to push the boat out , as we did, in musical terms, not to mention giving in to that silly temptation of standing in front of a twelve-piece orchestra of extremely good, in fact mostly professional, musicians and waving a baton about in a way even a looney-fringe conductor would feel slightly self-conscious about. Perhaps it would be one source of worry less, if reading music wasn't an ability I sadly lack; it would work wonders in the credibility stakes. And to round things off, the songs, by all accounts, are catchy, "horribly catchy" if some reactions are anything to go by (Truth be told, recording the actors' demo-tracks accounted for a fair bit of the strain on our otherwise happy marital relationship mentioned above). So the ditties have an unfortunate tendency to reverberate endlessly inside my head playing tag with ebbing confidence, hopfrog with items on things-to-do-before-the-first-night lists and merry hell with any calm thoughts I try to muster as I wonder just how long it will be before another dark and cold January morning waits to be braved.

It is at moments like these, when self-doubts are at their strongest, resistance to pretty much any mental or psychological exertion seriously weakened and the desire at an all time low to prove to the world what a genius it has so often ignored, that I swear, for the sake of an unruffled existence, I won't do this again. Never ever, never again, not even once!

And I ask myself how I could have forgotten...

 

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