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Held opening week - the writer's perspective

Posted by Everyman Playhouse on 15th Nov 2012 at 12:38 | 0 comments

Hi, I’m Joe Ward Munrow the author of Held which is currently on at the Playhouse studio. I should have had this blog up slightly earlier but have been a beautiful mixture of busy, stressed and tired. The last week of rehearsals and then into the technical and dress rehearsals was a blur, with each performance being markedly different and evolving from the last. Time actually seemed to speed up during this section of the rehearsal period. This all feels like a blur to me now, but I’m hoping my tardiness may be useful in some regards as I have now experienced the gauntlet of previews, opening night and press night.

Press night should probably be the most stressful, high-pressure moment for the writer in terms of the run of performances. For me though it wasn’t, of course I was nervous and I want the play to be well received and liked but the performance that had me sat there shallow breathing and clammy, was the performance before press night. On this night five members of my family came up to see the show and each of them had intimate connections and memories of the main theme of the show ,which is dementia. I was terrified that I may inadvertently offend or upset someone close to me. Thankfully they enjoyed and were moved by the show and so I could breathe a bit more freely. That feeling of repsonsibility in terms of accurately portraying a complex condition lifted slightly after that but will never fully go away.

That’s why the most important moments of the run so far haven’t been the big ones such as the opening night or press night. The most memorable have been the moments when someone has come up, and the number is upsettingly high, and said that they have experiences of family members with dementia and then have added that the play felt true to them. This won’t always be the case, the effects of dementia are different with different people and there is always subjective taste regarding the nature of the play but when it has happened I feel truly moved and also, a small but palpable pang of relief.

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