I'm writing this on barely five hours sleep (damn body clock doesn't understand late night means late sleep) although I imagine I'm in better shape than those who actually wrote, produced, performed and partied hard late into night after the annual Old Vic fund raiser, the 24-hour plays.
For those who have never been or are unfamiliar and I counted myself as being one of them until last night, what happens is this. After Saturday evening's performance at the Old Vic, a group of volunteer writers, directors and actors meet for the first time.
The actors have to come armed with a prop which goes into a pool. Last night's included a plastic heron, spider-man costume, a button that said 'that was easy' when pressed and someones pet dog. A real dog.
The six writers are then ferried off to a hotel where they fight over choose the actors they want before cracking on with writing a 10 minute play. At 8am with their freshly composed scripts are prized out of their hands and it's the directors turn to choose which script they want to work with.
Then the actors arrive and the day is spent producing and rehearsing ready for curtain up in front of a paying audience at 7.30pm. Each of the six plays has only 20 minutes tech time on stage. And, just to make things more complicated, they have to work around and within the restrictions imposed by the existing set, for the current production at the Old Vic, in this case The Playboy of the Western World.