I suspect this is going to be one of those flood, ‘intense’ posts that make no sense no matter how hard you try. Still.
Last night I went to see Nick Hayes performing solo in that cosy little gem that is the Crazy Coqs at Zedel and my heart is so full it’s going to burst out of my ears if I don’t put some words down. I don’t know whether I’m more happy, moved, grateful or all of those in equal measure.
Seeing Nick meant potentially bursting a bubble I’ve been hiding in for a few months now. It meant risking the magic of The definition of lonely (the award-winning short by Leon Lopez that unfailingly restores my kindness and faith in the universe when everything seems to be going down the drain at dizzying speed). It meant turning idealised characters into real people, people I have no real connection with, and therefore facing the inescapable nature of this single parenting-related loneliness. It also meant being reminded about important people leaving and the long months without their art that await. (No pressure, darling.)
And so I went.
I sat. By myself. At a small table with three empty chairs. I ordered a non-alcoholic drink with cucumber. Doomed, I thought, but it was actually delicious. I wondered what kind of audience would come to this. I watched my jaw slowly reach the floor as well-known choreographers, directors, musicians, singers, actors, artists of all kinds filled the room. I felt utterly insignificant but ridiculously excited. The child that I am!
I listened to such beautiful voices (my dear lord, Sabrina Aloueche’s is so powerful and Jessica Aubrey’s a thing of beauty). I laughed. I hurt. I dreamt of good times. I remembered. I tasted the love in the room. I felt myself being overtaken by joy, slowly. All the usual nastiness unable to reach me. I felt full. Present. Blessed.
Love goes around, you know. There was so much love in that space, you would just get caught in the wave. I’m sure there was plenty of other feelings and vibes too, but that’s irrelevant. You can tune into the vibe that works for you. As long as it’s there. And it’ll take you with it.
I did also feel like an alien, though. As if I had gatecrashed a party and was about to get caught. So, I ran. I allowed myself a rushed ‘thank you’ to the artists and legged it. I know, I know, I have to work on that one. But missing the last train was not really an option -not that you can trust Southern with any schedules, obviously- so I had this whole excuse to self that I had a good reason. It’s work ‘in progress’. Like the title of Nick’s show.
It’s 1pm on the following day and I am still full. Of life. Me. Me! I CAN still feel. And quite a lot, actually. Find your people, they say. I’d like to point out it’s kind of tricky when you’re stuck at home with kids whenever you’re not at work. But it is possible. When I started hiding in theatres on saturday afternoons six months ago, I hoped to find an escape. I didn’t know I would intersect with so many incredible humans. It’s hard not to feel lucky even with life being so challenging at the minute.
Nick can sing. Beautifully. He is funny, clever, loud, gentle, smooth, glamorous and raw all at the same time (onstage, that is – I never claim to have the faintest idea what artists are like in their everyday life and it’s none of my business). And one thing is becoming really clear to me. I LOVE being where I am not the loudest, most melodramatic in the crew. There may not be many places for this, but I promise you I’ll find them. And there I’ll be alive. And full. And real.
Nick didn’t shatter the magic. If anything, he closed the circle that Lucas started. Tracing the space where I have just as much of a right to exist as everybody else. And the music is always on and is splendid.