Not quite sure what it is that is keeping the engine running at the moment, possibly that 1kg of vegetables that I am eating every day, but somehow I am still motoring onwards on little sleep and lots of work. I wrote my Metro column along with breakfast - I had no ideas at all, but thankfully someone tweeted an old Warming Up which I had forgotten writing and which seemed pretty funny, so I adapted that. I had had no time to work on the play since yesterday so we worked through the second half of the script. Although it's nearly there there are big chunks that are either missing or written rather quickly to give a flavour of what is to come. It's excruciating having to listen to good actors reading bad writing, especially when you yourself have written it. But when I wasn't burning with embarrassment there were some bits I was pleased with and the end rocks along nicely to a thrilling and spooky denouement. I think it's going to be OK.
Even more excitingly we have cast the final role, so accidents, death and actorly strops aside, we now have our cast. Nichola Macauliffe will be playing Felix Yusupov and I am already very excited about this. She's a fabulous actor and a whole lot of fun already (I love an actor who comes with anedotes and she has some crackers) and casting a woman in this role is already feeling like a brilliant move. Justin Edwards (who comedy fans will know as Jeremy Lions and from the Thick of It) is Rasputin. Joseph Chance is playing Halliday. Eileen Nicholas is Irina and Stephen Leask and Joanna Griffin are playing assorted other roles. Our director is Hannah Banister. It's an exciting mixture of established talent and relative newcomers, but it's great to have a balance of male and female, as well as a wide range of ages. We're having fun and everyone seems to be cool about the slightly terrifying time schedule we've got to put this together.
I promised to get the first 40 pages of the script (more or less half of it) in more or less final draft state by tomorrow, though also had to drive up to north london for another preview. This one was only to about thirty people in a pub back room, but was probably even more enjoyable for me than last night. I know the material well enough to start dicking around with it and managed to make myself laugh with a few flights of fancy. It was a beautiful evening and the audience were friendly and it might have been nice to stop and have a drink. But I am not drinking and still had writing to do, so I drove home. Remarkably I still had the energy to keep writing til midnight and set my alarm for 7am so I could fill in the few tricky gaps before tomorrow's rehearsal.
I am feeling a lot more positive about the Fringe than I was a fortnight ago. And there is still ages to go in real terms. Looking back at last year's blog I am miles ahead of where I was with We're All Going To Die at this stage. So bizarrely, assuming I crack the play script by Monday I am going to have some time to really perfect the stand up show into something special. It feels more relaxed and conversational than the recent shows and I am enjoying telling stories.
All right, here we go!
If you can't make it to Edinburgh (but can make it to Hammersmith) there is a chance to catch some early previews of the play at the Riverside Studios on 24th, 25th and 26th July. Only limited tickets - buy here.
Or if you can make it to both shows in the same day you can save some money by buying a combo ticket (from 3rd-24th August) here (they've accidentally put it down as July at the moment, so the link is not working, but check back soon and it will be working).
You can see all this info and a little bit more in this month's newsletter