We did three nights at the Guild Theatre. It wasn’t marketed widely and so we had a small audience each night. The audience was enthusiastic and supportive – with many of our friends in the Melbourne theatre community and long time supporters turning up. I remember wondering what it would be like in London without the whooping and cheering audience, where at least some of the joy is in seeing something (or someone) familiar.

Shortly before performance time Rich had a little problem with his shoulder and we made small changes to the show to ensure there would be no further problems with injuries. It brought home to me what a physically demanding show it was, with both me and Stephen Phillips (who first created Enkidu) having had some form of shoulder problems during the rehearsal period. Christian and Phil take these concerns very seriously and I think some professional directors could learn a lot from the importance they place on actors’ health, though I think they might have learnt this from experience!



One part of the show that I felt much happier with was the death of Enkidu. During the previous incarnations of the show at APAM and the Arts Centre, I never felt fully supported by the physical movements of the scene – what Lindy Davies from VCA would have called the “blueprint”. It had changed so many times and so many new elements had been added in and taken away that some movements and words began to feel quite arbitrary. Here are some of the parts of the scene: The Queen of the Underworld, Enlil, and her scribe, the House of Dust itself and the whisperings of welcome, the image of Enkidu’s body gradually turning to dust, the words of the gods entering into Enkidu’s ear and torturing him, grabbing of the doll for support, the transfer of the curse from Gilgamesh to Enkidu, going to Gilgamesh for help and being pushed away… the list goes on. And all that while I’m dying! So I was a little confused.

But now the whole scene feels it has a natural shape of movement that includes all the important images and also allows for a gradual shift and climax in pace. It is hard to describe how satisfying it is to have this in place now! For an actor it gives a great feeling of security, and with that comes the freedom to explore the smaller moments within it, in the knowledge that you are “held” by the basic architecture of the scene.

After the show closed in Melbourne we all felt that it had been a great idea to open the tour on familiar ground. It didn’t feel like such a jump now to open at the Barbican.

For The last few days before I left were spent trying to pack and complete an application for a theatre project I am helping to produce in the second half of 2008. It was a great relief to get on the flight and know that the only thing I needed to focus on was preparing myself physically and mentally for the next step.

As I packed I made sure to take one the Uncle Semolina tour T-shirts that we had screen-printed days before especially for the tour. Daggy, yes, but I still wear it with pride!