Written by Maria Sykes

Rehearsals are nearly over. The nerves are beginning to appear. The tension is rising. However it all seems rather surreal. I suppose that’s a fitting feeling given the themes of these two plays. We’ve only been rehearsing for a couple of weeks. This isn’t a dream though, we really are on next week! Cue nightmarish music!

Throughout rehearsals there have been many discussions about dreams, fantasies and the idea of ‘being careful about what you wish for’. We posed the question ‘what is the difference between a dream and a fantasy?’ Is a dream an achievable aspiration and a fantasy not so? We never did agree on an answer.
When we say ‘dreams’ it’s not those random nighttime visions that you can’t always remember in the morning, but that reoccurring desire for something special that you hope will one day come true.

It’s one of the things I like most about our rehearsals. The discussions. It’s not just the discussions about our individual characters and their relationships with each other, which are a vital part of the process, but the ones about the broader topics that surround the play or the core themes.
Both plays share the idea of a character creating a fantasy world. In ‘Woman in Mind’ the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred. A feeling I can relate to right now!

As a cast we discussed some of our dreams and fantasies. Don’t worry I won’t be revealing any of them here. What’s said in the rehearsal room stays in the rehearsal room!!! But for a small fee ……!
I suppose some of the ones we admitted to were the kind of things you’d expect; winning the lottery, successful career, nice house. What about those smaller dreams? Not the big life changing events but those specific ideas that start with ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day I could…….’.
It was through all this I started thinking about my own dreams. Those I’ve held for many years and still hope will come true, those I now know will never be and those that have grown over time from a small idea to a real possibility. It’s no secret that one of these will happen next week.

I’ve wanted to play the part of Susan for many years. From the first time I read the play the character fascinated me not only within the confines of the play itself but also the thought of bringing that character to life. What would it be like to play someone who goes through so many emotions and finally descends into a darkness most of us, thankfully, will never experience? I’m very quickly finding out. The responsibility of playing a character who never leaves the stage is hitting home. I know this is a feeling I share with Alice who is in the same position in ‘Invisible Friends’. What’s life without a challenge?

However, through all the worries and the hard work and the line learning, the excitement of finally fulfilling a dream makes it all worth it. I can’t wait. I’m so amazed by and proud of this entire company. Everyone understand that we’re all in this together. There’s a company ethos that we are a team and that team spirit is strong. But as the nerves grow and opening night gets ever closer I do begin to wonder if I should have been more careful in what I wished for!

And the postscript to all this. What does it feel like when your dream is fulfilled? Exhausting, scary, exhilarating and completely and utterly wonderful.