Finishing reading "The War Diary of Clare Gass"…


Last night was a long night.

We ran lines in rehearsal, everyone trying desperately to get off-book or to capture that little something in their character that had been eluding them.  At least, that’s how I felt.  The rehearsal was run by the assistant director, and the director, Bea, wasn’t there.  This was all on purpose to let us do our own thing and figure it out for ourselves.  I’ve never had the benefit of an asst-director before – but it’s cool because you can solicit feedback from someone that knows everything that’s happened up to this point in the process, but it’s been routed through a different mind and shaped into a new idea.  It really worked and the atmosphere was tense.

It became almost ridiculous when, also as per Bea’s plan, we switched roles and started reading everyone else’s lines.  It was one of those moments, and I wonder if this didn’t happen in wartime as well, when the weight of the circumstances is so heavy that all you can do is laugh.  Well, we laughed like crazy, shouting out lines and cracking up over M’s attempt at a French accent, or R’s reaction to it.  For me, it was incredible to see the voices that I had grown used to, both of my friends and the characters, coming at me in different way.

Anyways, back to Clare Gass – it really reads like a series of tides.  How day after day after day men and “laddies” would come to her ward to be patched up, healed, or to die, some to be sent home, others to go back to the front.  She is extremely guarded with her mentions of Laurie, and I found myself looking for hidden, secret references to her lover.  I think I found a few, but I will let them remain her secret.

One of the questions that has been in my mind the last few days is what song Laurie might whistle while on leave at the sea-side with Clare.  I found it in a semi-cryptic diary posting, hanging at the top of a day’s listing, several months after Vimy and all its sorrows: “The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.

Listen for it, if you come.  Come if you can.

more later – j

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