What Simon Says… 4
Our resident playwright, Simon Harvey-Williams, is feeling the heat as the team is assembled for the promenade show of the summer…
It’s a sunny early evening and I find myself standing in a beer garden looking for familiar faces and beginning to wonder, ‘Have I (a) got the right day or (b) the wrong pub?’ I was thinking I should have re-checked my emails before I left the house and was about to reach for my mobile when one of the other writers arrives. We discover a fellow writer waiting with the same ‘Am I in the right place?’ look, but then thankfully writers, directors and designers gradually arrive. This was the first proper get-together of (almost) everyone involved in Eddie King’s Unforgettable Tour of the Forgotten and suddenly it made the whole thing feel very real.
Charlotte – who has done a brilliant job administrating and marketing the production – went around the table introducing everyone and I’m sat there with a ‘Wonder Years’ style voiceover in my head, thinking, ‘This is just great, everyone here is doing this for no money and the enthusiasm is obvious’. We explained about our pieces and I had the chance to meet Nancy (the director of my play) and chat about the piece. I had a moment of fear as the two of us walked to a near-by table that she might actually have hated it, but thankfully she liked it – although with some useful feedback on how it might be improved.
Eventually we re-join the others and as I’m chatting away I feel a hand on my shoulder and I hear a familiar and slightly sinister voice say, ‘Good evening sir”’; the voice is unmistakable and before I know it I find myself saying, ‘Everyone, this is Eddie King.. I mean Stuart or Stroddy to his friends’; Eddie… I mean Stroddy raises his glass of gin and joins us at the table.
The character of Eddie was and will again be the catalyst of the show. He is rude and opinionated; he doesn’t care if he’s liked or not. But I felt in last year’s production that Stroddy managed to give the character a sinister charm that lended the whole production an exciting and slightly surreal energy. Late into the evening Paula (who designed the poster) arrived with an A3 rough draft of the final image and even though she’d never met Eddie/Stroddy, she had somehow captured him uncannily. I think the poster is absolutely brilliant and just a lovely piece of work in its own right, which I will definitely stick on my wall at some point.
We say our goodbyes and prepare for the busy weeks ahead of re-writing and rehearsal. I turn around to say goodbye to Stroddy but somehow he’s managed to disappear without me noticing, leaving just an empty gin glass and an obscene doodle with a note saying, ‘See you soon, Eddie’ on my pad… I leave for home slightly unnerved.