20 February 2007
Opening nights are an exercise in mental control. Especially when you've been waiting six years.
I saw PROOF on Broadway in 2001. As the show ended I knew that I wanted to produce it in the West End and play Hal. Six years later...!
When we finished the very good dress there were two hours before the opening performance (which was also our press night!) and it seemed to be a matter of keeping my head clear of all unnecessary thoughts. Actually I closed my eyes...and stood up forty minutes later slightly dazed, which meant, quite happily, there wasn't a thought in my head! This continued until I sat in the wings, where I become absorbed in the play around me and found myself gently, mentally, warming up for my entrance. It was a good feeling and a very enjoyable performance. The audience were relaxed, concentrated and totally up for it.
And the critics? Two reviews in so far. The Daily Mail reviewer, who hadn't seen the previous Donmar production, loved it. The Evening Standard, who saw the Donmar production, hated it.
Saving the Daily Mirror, not a single critic liked the play when it was performed at the Donmar. So it was always going to be hard to present the play again in London. But I love the play - the audiences have always loved the play - so it seemed, in a pure way, the right thing to do.
I reckon the reviews will be split between those who saw it last night for the first time and those who've seen it before at the Donmar. We'll see!
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