I’m a writer who likes writing in certain places. I like writing, in fact, in my bedroom, in my flat, in my slippers, with maybe a bottle of orange juice by my side and an option on pesto for supper.
If absolutely forced to, I can write in cafes, but it takes doing.
If I need to, I will write while in far-flung countries, but only if everything is shut and we’re too exhausted from cultural events and playing chess or cards to go and do… well… more far-flung tourist things.
I can write, it turns out, in the theatre green room. Usually it’s quiet, except for after the show, when everyone goes down for a drink and frankly, who’d write then anyway? Sometimes there’s people talking loudly, sometimes the TV is up, but chose your seat, hunker down, and it’s entirely manageable. The only downside, is that it doesn’t have any power, forcing me to charge my laptop during matinees, write between shows, and then put the laptop back on charge during the evening performance, which is more of a power juggling act than it sounds.
Where it turns out I struggle to write, is in the theatre auditorium. Don’t get me wrong, I write here for two reasons – the silence and the regular power supply – but it is a strange, surreal experience, sitting alone in a silent theatre. The working lights tick relentlessly with a slightly fluctuating voltage, for the power in this place is nothing if not intermittent. Sometimes a door might slam on stage left, and while during a show no one would hear, right here, right now, in this silence, it’s defeaning. The lights are off in the DSM and LX box, there’s a faint glow up in the follow spot perches where the workers were left on between shows. The doors are open at the back of the set, revealing a bit of the rear dock, and all around, there are over a thousand empty chairs that will in approximately one hour and ten minutes, be overflowing.
Sometimes, a couple of actors walk through with shopping bags. I envy their summery dresses, not because I’m particularly summer dress woman, but because for the next three weeks my clothes must very strictly be designed for going up ladders or kicking bits of equipment. There’s only really one word for being the only person in a quietly ticking auditorium…