So the first night of Twelfth Night is done. Having felt surprisingly calm up to this point, I then awoke yesterday and went on a mad cleaning spree of the house, sweeping, vacuuming, polishing and washing up (my least favourite of the chores) – anything to keep busy and stave off the nerves! My mum and little sister were coming down to stay so the cleaning was definitely needed, but I’m not sure I’d have been quite so productive in the same amount of time if I hadn’t had the adrenaline to keep me going. Whenever I took a few minutes to sit down either with a cup of coffee or my lunch the nerves began to creep back, stealthily at first then full-on and frantic, so that I jumped up and ran to grab a duster and get back to it. By the time I headed off to the theatre I was babbling away (a sign of nerves), but when we reached the theatre I fell silent (a sign of extreme nerves), and got into costume in mute panic. As the house lights went down and the stage lights went up, waiting in the wings I felt the panic suddenly give way to a burst of excitement, fizzing through my entire body.
The performance went really well for a first night – people can often be thrown by the sudden presence of an audience after weeks of rehearsal rooms, but the energy was high and everyone gave it their best. Personally, I felt my performance in the first few scenes was rather flat, and after each I trudged backstage to forlornly stuff my face with Quality Street and make exasperated noises, but by my third or fourth scene I had warmed up, and the rest of the performance, though not my best, was at least satisfactory. During one or two scenes I really felt on the ball, and the last scene finally made Viola come fully alive, so I left the stage on a high, but with some definite areas to work on for the next show. Now I’ve just got to get it right on the mark for tonight’s show. I need to ground myself more on the stage, bring more of Viola’s presence to the performance, and hopefully it will be a show to remember!