I am reminded of the time I was hired to play the lead in a musical in Sweden. Everything was organised. The contracts sorted. I had even let my flat out for six weeks in London.
Four days before I was leaving to fly out to Stockholm, I got ‘the’ phone-call. The show was cancelled; the ‘rights’ had not been cleared. In other words, the production company had not been given permission to do the show. Yikes....isn’t that one of the first things a production company might do??
What this basically meant was that life became an instant nightmare! What a disappointment. I already knew the part inside out. I was to be Audrey in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. I wanted to play that part, but sadly it was not to be....
I had to cancel the people coming to live in my flat, tell my agent I was now unexpectedly ‘available’ and contact Equity to see if it meant I might still get paid. (Oh yes, even in the face of adversity I realised that I had to be practical and think about paying my mortgage)
But actually the worst part was the disappointment. There was now ‘ six’ weeks to ‘fill’ with ......something else.
One of the things I had been looking forward to about going to Sweden was exploring the ‘Viking Culture’ and I had bought a ‘Book of Viking Runes’ to get me in the mood. (It’s a form of Divination)
Well, no time like the present to ‘cast them’ I thought. If I can’t play ‘Audrey’ I’ll do ....what exactly?
‘ Tell me Runes what does the Oracle say?’
I picked out a stone called ‘Inguz’ .This stone said it straight, ‘ You must fertilise the ground for your own deliverance’
Oh ...you mean like stop mopping about and ‘do’ something. Good idea!
My next bright idea was to read ‘ The Stage’ and there was an advert for the National Youth Theatre looking for scripts with a ‘historical’ context, preferably with music.
I rang up my friend and playwright David Neville and said ‘We’ve got to write a play with music, I can hear the songs already in my head. We’ve got six weeks to do it in.’
Amazingly, he agreed and we wrote ‘ Another One for the Road’ which ended up as a commissioned work with the Scottish Youth Theatre. But for me it was a change of direction and set me on the path to writing my first Musical. Something I might not have taken the time to do if I hadn’t suddenly been made ‘available’
So you see.....every cloud has more water in it than you could ever imagine!