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Rep Season 2013 – Performance Day 24 – LACHLAN McCALL (Calcagno/Andrei/Father)

February 5, 2013

‘I didn’t sleep a wink all night.’

The history of the world is replete with legendary endurance tests: Pheidippides journey from Marathon to Athens, Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic, England holding Italy to a draw in a 1997 World Cup qualifier. With regards to a Rep Season by The Faction, I sometimes feel like Pheidippides, like Shackleton, like Paul Ince.

Having been involved with The Faction on and off and in various capacities since late 2010, I took part in last year’s critically-acclaimed, inaugural Rep Season. It was one of the best professional experiences of my life and I felt how I thought actors were supposed to feel: artistically sated, exhausted and frequently drunk. Going into this season, I mostly remembered the good times: the atmosphere around the ensemble as we received glowing review after glowing review, the response from the audience as we regularly killed off the Queen of Scotland (sorry for the spoilers if you haven’t seen Mary Stuart) and the quite impeccable demonstration of trout tickling by Jonny McPherson.

What I’d forgotten was the exhaustion. Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

The dynamic of the ensemble feels very different this year. Several important and much-loved cast members from last year are absent and we have some highly-talented newbies in (not necessarily new to the company) who are all beautiful and lovely*. The company is larger. There is a better balance of men and women. We have two directors. We have a stage manager in right from the start of rehearsals. This has helped the season not feel like a rehash of last year.

Last year’s success has filled most of us with confidence throughout that it will ALL BE OK. There are dark times, of course, and we never have the opportunity to rehearse anything as much as we’d like. I’ve genuinely had sleepless nights, I’ve had to be very careful not to exist purely on Pret a Manger and Glenfidditch, and I’ve had to try to keep a separation between the harrowing journeys my characters travel and my own life (last year we had Twelfth Night to cheer us up, this time our comedy is by Chekhov).

I’ve had to pretty much put a hold on the rest of my life. Friends, family, bills, other professional commitments, they’ve all had to take a back seat. Only one member of the ensemble is married, none have children and many are not in long-term relationships and, frankly, I can see why.

Coming out of rehearsals is always sad but it is nice to be able to head to the theatre in the evening, do a great job (hopefully) and then get back to the rest of my life. Would I do it again? Like a sufferer of Stockholm Syndrome I say ‘Yes! Please! Hurl me back into the basement!’. Bring on Rep 2014.

*except Jonathan Plummer who is handsome and brooding.

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