“… is this an intervention?”
I thought it best to ask. I’d never had one before and I’d expected there to be more passive-aggressive daubing of the eyes with Kleenex.
The reply from Helen came quickly: “Max, you’re loved and valued…”
So it was an intervention then.
If the handkerchiefs were out, they weren’t coming through over the digital messaging system.
I took a grubby tissue out of my pocket and blew my nose before typing my reply. Just to show willing.
“The ‘me’ in my blog is just an exaggerated version of me,” I explained. “Not actual me.”
This is true.
Sort of true.
Everything I write in my blog is real. We don’t do fiction here at the London Theatre Marathon. If I started allowing myself to make things up, even small things, it wouldn’t take me long to embrace the click-bait and go full hog on a SEO-friendly spiral of lies.
There would probably also be listicles.
“How I learnt to embrace sitting in the front row”
“10 ways theatre improves your relationships”
“The cats of London theatre, ranked by snobbishness. You’ll be shocked by who’s at number 3!”
Wait, hang on. That’s a really good idea, actually…
Err, where was I? Right, lying.
I don’t do it. Everything you read has happened. I really did almost faint at the Sam Wanamaker. If I say I turned up to a show a month early, well - I am exactly as stupid as that makes me sound. Any dialogue that you encounter here is as close to an accurate transcription as what my memory can manage.
And I really do have anxiety.
But while I may have put out more than 60,000 words since starting this blog, it might surprise you to find out that I’m fairly selective in what I chose to write about.
“Selective? Max, you spent half a blog post telling us how you turned up to one of your chemistry A-levels drunk the other day,” I hear you moan.
Yeah, and didn’t you enjoy that? Look, I could have done this marathon without ever starting this blog. A few photos and a two line review for Instagram would have served just as well. But, hey - I’m a writer. Of sorts. So that’s what I do. I write. And if I’m writing, I may as well attempt to be entertaining. Which means picking out the most interesting parts of my outings and making a pretty post out of them. Parts which very often touch on my anxiety as they are the cause of so much of my embarrassing fumbling.
And does it not work? Are you not entertained?
My name is Maximus Scaena Riseum, Runner of the London Theatre Marathon, General of the legion of theatre ghosts, loyal servant of the Theatre Gods.
Ah, yes. The theatre ghosts. What started as a silly story soon turned into a running joke and then...
“I’m not going to kill myself by jumping into an orchestra pit,” I messaged, just to be clear.
“I’m not worried about a dramatic suicide so much as wearing yourself out to a point where you are ill and miserable,” rejoined Ellen. “You know you best tho obviously,” she added, ever the diplomat.
Glad we’d got that sorted.
For the time being.
“I can’t believe I’m delivering Crosstown doughnuts while wearing a Greggs t-shirt,” I said, as I turned up at Helen’s flat that evening with Crosstown doughnuts and wearing a Greggs t-shirt.
I was at LAMDA that night, and a trip to Hammersmith is an excuse to buy doughnuts and visit Helen.
We had important matters to discuss.
Like my burgeoning writer-crush on David Ireland.
“He’s got a new play opening in Belfast,” Helen told me setting down a big mug of tea in front of me. She’d just spent the past five minutes dropping a load of intellectual chat about intertextuality and the use of language in Cyprus Avenue on me, which is the type of quality chat I’m after with my doughnuts.Read More