I’ve done a lot of amateur dramatics, innit. I’ve worked with a lot of directors. There’s two types of director: ‘blockers’ and ‘wankers’. A blocker doesn’t mess around. They just block the farking play. Tell you where to stand, when to sit, and, erm, how to fall over, maybe. A wanker, meanwhile, despite the nomenclature, doesn’t show you where, when and how to wank; rather, they initially forgo the blocking in favour of analysing the text, character work and pretty much fannying around.
At my last rehearsal there was quite a bit of wanking and fannying. We did some improvisation. Ack. I hate improvising. Gimme a script and I’ll act my extraordinary arse off. Tell me to improvise a scene and I’ll curl up in a ball and weep quietly in the corner. Farking hate it. I feel like a tit. I say all the wrong stuff, and then worry that the director is looking at me and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s totally not what I envisaged the character to be like, Jeezus I made a mistake casting her, now I’m stuck with this tit who can’t even improvise, man alive the whole play is RUINED’.
OK that’s a bit dramatic, but this is DRAMA, people.
So. Improvisation. Innit. What a crock.
But then today, it struck me: I’m improvising ALL THE BLOODY TIME. I haven’t got a FARKING CLUE what I’m doing. This last year I’ve moved house, lost a husband, gone on benefits, had a new relationship and lost that as well, all while doing that parenting stuff and maintaining a blog and having a LIFE – of sorts – which, to a past version of me, sounds utterly alien and totes not what I was expecting.
Life is just one HUGE improvisation. We all pretend to know what we’re doing as we trundle along. I really admire people who plan stuff – who say, ‘Oh yah, in five year’s time I’ll be in a cottage in the Cotswolds with three children, seven dogs and a pony’ or ‘By the time I’m forty I’ll be assistant manager of this helium balloon company!’ or ‘I must taste rum’n'raisin ice cream at least once before I farking DIE’. That’s ambition. That’s PLANNING. I don’t plan. I can’t. If anything, this last year has shown me that actual constructive planning is beyond my reach. So I improvise.
I thought I knew what the months ahead held for me. I thought I’d eventually find some sort of stability in the near future. Now that’s changed again. I’m adrift. But I have Moo, I have a house I can finally afford to live in, and we can eat. That’s a start. Everything else, I’m MAKING IT UP AS I GO ALONG. Innit.
Are you a planner, or a wanker, like me? And what do you do if stuff doesn’t go the way you planned?