There comes a time when the details become important, like three weeks before a performance when you realise you still only have half the props and costume in place. Thank goodness for ebay! This wet Bank Holiday has been the perfect time to sit in the office and tick ‘details’ off the to-do list.
I have worked out staging and roped in family as ‘front of house’ – they are kindly putting up with my obsession with Cissie! The room has great acoustics and a sense of history, I’m lucky to be able to use the Coach House Studios.
This has been an incredible journey, I now have a workable script and a sense of something coming together. I also feel closer to my family and roots, helped by a trip back to Preston in early August. I had planned a visit to my Auntie, Cissie’s daughter, but wasn’t expecting the group of cousins as well, what a wonderful surprise. I do feel a sense of responsibility; although ‘my Cissie’ is a fictitious character she is based on my Grandma of that name. So much of the story is based on real anecdotes, and the true Cissie remains in the memories of so many people. I am very lucky to have my Dad’s writings to help me, it’s no coincidence that many of the anecdotes refer to his life as a child and young man.
It also feels so important to get on and do this now, and use my voice while I can. The original Cissie, my parents, and countless other men and women of their generations couldn’t choose but just got on with it, dealt with poverty, war, separation, and passed the baton on to us to make the most of life.