Guest Blog: Joe Alessi - 4:26am

Guest blogger Joe Alessi writes from the road as he plays Albert in the Australian tour of Brief Encounter.

Blog Three - 4:26am

We are Kneehigh, it’s 4:26am and I am awake.

Wide awake. Jet lag. Par for the course.

Cinematographers talk of the ‘Golden Hour’, the time of day,  just before sunrise and sunset when the light from it is considered perfect. I think I might call this time, the hours between 3:30am and 5:30am, the ‘Un-golden Hour’: the time of day that I’m sure is ruled by what scientists call Dark Matter, they’ve been searching in vain for it for many years now; scientists.. pah! What do they know? If they got out of bed between the hours I’ve mentioned, then they’d find it alright and from that, many scientific and cosmological discoveries will be made that unlock the secrets of the universe and will ultimately benefit mankind and I will be awarded the Nobel Prize for science. Thank-you.

The silence in between these hours is quite other-worldly, I find it utterly disconcerting and strangely deafening, the term ‘the silence was deafening’? I totally understand now, so I plug in my ipod and put on some music, (Bach: The Goldberg Variations played by Glenn Gould, now I can pretend I’m in a film: tortured writer suffering from insomnia, all he can do at this time is write!)

Nature, it seems, has just switched off and everything stops, I look out of my window (“..and what do I see? Crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me.”) and i'm reminded of the scene in Westworld when all the robots have been programmed to return to base and the world is totally deserted save for one rogue robot played by Yul Brynner, dressed as the archetypal bad guy in a western, all in black, walking round the corner in that fantastic, awkward robot walk he did, terrorising the two protagonists. Our director, Emma Rice, says that whenever she can’t sleep, she just takes comfort in the fact that she’s at least in a horizontal position and relaxing, that’s true I suppose but how does one turn one’s brain off? I’d feel as if I had locked-in syndrome, lying there, not moving, with only my thoughts to torment me. I’m reminded of the late, great, Sarah Kane and her play ‘4:48, Psychosis’ she takes the title from the time, 4:48 a.m., when she was in her depressed state, often woke to write. However rather than writing a genius, dark, suicidal play, I decide to go downstairs to the gym where I find Jim Sturgeon who plays ‘Alec’ on the bicycle and Damon Daunno who plays ‘Stanley’ in the Jacuzzi. Brothers in arms. I do a half hour run on the treadmill, then the Jacuzzi, i then shower, dress and head off for a juice at Central Market (carrot, apple and ginger) take a look:

So yesterday was our rest day and apart from the deep tissue massage (of which I am now feeling) and discovering The Central Markets I discovered two things about Australia:

One: It snows in Australia. Who knew? I wrongly assumed that it was always hot here, or certainly warmish during the winter months or never cold enough to actually snow. But snow it does, I’m reliably informed, in New South Wales and the Victoria area and people go skiing.

Two: the water drains down the plughole the opposite way from what it does in the Northern hemisphere. This fascinated me for far more time than a grown man should find fascinating, I found myself repeatedly filling the sink and opening the plughole, I’m aware what a terrible waste of water that was but I had regressed to part child; part chimpanzee and part idiot but I’m an actor and if I’m honest, that’s the default setting for most  actors: child, chimp, idiot.

And with that in mind, I look forward to our first day of rehearsal here in Adelaide at the Dunston Playhouse Theatre. That’s if I don’t fall asleep before 10am..

Love, light, peace and respect

Joe X

Ps Hurricanes and Typhoons are the same thing, they’re called hurricanes in the Northern hemisphere and Typhoons in the Southern hemisphere.

Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter

“The most enchanting work of stagecraft ever inspired by a movie” Ben Brantley, The New York Times

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