The show is
bedding in and the strong sense overtakes me that I’m really a spare
part. As John Bird, channelling Denis Thatcher, put it, ‘about as much
use as a one-legged man at an arse-kicking party’. It’s not an
unpleasant feeling, as long as you feel you’ve done your work and it’s
taxiing nicely to take-off. But it’s also a thing about where you put
I think of Alan Bennett’s diary entry from last year in the London Review of Books which makes the point very well:
7 November 2009: It’s at this point, a couple of days into previews, that the author begins to take his or her leave of the play. It’s nothing to do with a sense of work completed, which I seldom have anyway, or now the play is up and running a desire to get on with something else. Fat chance. No. While it’s psychologically healthy (no sense in hanging around after all), it’s because at this point the cast have been allotted their dressing-rooms. Previously the rehearsal room has been the meeting place where besides work you gossip and have coffee and, if you’re like me and are used to working on your own, have a nice, gregarious time. Now everyone escept the playwright has a room to go to and a couch to lie on, the real meeting place henceforth the stage on which every night the actors rendez-vous to do the play. For the author it’s over.