Monday, 2 May 2016

Emily Jane Kerr on comedy and bubble baths

It is Monday afternoon. I am currently in my pjs. I am exhausted. I don't think I have ever been this tired. Honestly. 

Emily Jane Kerr in
Grassroots' 2014 production of Othello as Emilia

I have done a 10 show a week schools tour (for 3 months). I have done two double show 30 day stints at the Edinburgh Fringe. Considering I (spoiler alert) died on stage every night as Emilia in Othello, and all the other tragedy that happens within the play, I am still more tired after our two show day of Twelfth Night than I ever was after a two show day of Othello

Now, I am aware I am two years older than I was when performing in Othello and now much nearer to 30 than I have ever been (watch it...) but it can't just be age... It can't. Please, someone tell me it can't be.

I think what I've come to realise is that comedy is actually quite a serious business. No really. The amount of focus that is required to perform Twelfth Night is quite astounding. The mental and physical agility required to navigate the text of one of Shakespeare's most interesting comedies, and our intimate space at Leicester Square Theatre, is huge. No wonder I'm exhausted. 

Emily Jane Kerr in
Grassroots' 2016 production of Twelfth Night as Maria

The timing in the physical and verbal comedy between myself (Maria), Benjamin Bonar (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) and John Pickard (Sir Toby Belch) needs to land every night and I think I underestimated the amount of focus that requires. It's been four years since I last performed in a full length comedy, and it's been a bit of a shock to the system! But thanks to the hard work, focus and support of our wonderful ensemble of actors (not to mention the comedy masterclasses I've been getting from Richard Soames of 'The Beta Males' 😉) I think I'm pulling it off. I'm just lucky I've got the support of my two troublesome boys (Ben and John) on stage every time, and support goes off stage too. I can feel the kindness and generosity as I walk into the dressing room at the end of each scene. Everyone listens to the audience reactions (be it laughter, gasps, whispers, or even 'uh oh' as we had from one woman the other night!), we want to share the show with the audience and we want to share in their joy. 

And what joy it has been! Honestly we've had incredible responses from audience members (none of whom were paid to be nice!) and you can read some of the responses on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Go and have a nose, you know you want to. 

Chris Thomson said last blog: 'We made [the show] for you. All of you.' Chris is quite sensible (and has a great beard) so I'd trust him on that. We really did so it's amazing to see so many people sharing the laughter and joy with us each show in our lovely home at Leicester Square. So if you haven't seen the show yet, what are you waiting for? 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take my aged, nearly 30 year body and have a bath. 


Twelfth Night plays at Leicester Square Theatre until 14th May.