Babies, Bodies, Biscuits

In one week’s time our production of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Not I’ opens at Battersea Arts Centre in London. We’ve been in rehearsals this week and it’s been great getting back into the play. I’ve particularly enjoyed rehearsing with Charmaine, our BSL performer, again.

When we were last together Charmaine was pregnant. Now, instead of a bump she has a beautiful, wiggly, smiley son who’s been with us in the rehearsal room. Deepa, our BSL Director, was in today as well, along with her baby daughter and I’ve loved having babies as part of our crew. It means we have to be mindful about the pace of the day, take regular breaks, and have a chill-out room. All these things are really helpful for me too, especially as my pain has increased since we were last performing together in August.

Both babies seem quite relaxed listening to Beckett’s repetitive words. I wondered, looking at them as we ran through our lines today, whether it’s familiar to them from when they were bumps. Charmaine’s son certainly broke into a broad grin when I was saying ‘Biscuit’ a lot, earlier.

This reminded me the time Fat Sister went to an open day for a course she’s considering doing and one of the staff there had offered her a biscuit. Apparently my nine-month- old niece, strapped into a sling on Fat Sister’s front, grinned every time she heard the magic word.

The woman quizzed Fat Sister about whether she was feeding her baby biscuits. Fat Sister stressed that she wasn’t, but right on cue my niece smiled knowingly again. Fat Sister watched the woman’s eyes turn to my niece’s eager face that seemed to be telling a very different story. Fat Sister didn’t explain that for my niece biscuits are less a delicious sweet treat and more a never-ending sound track to her life.

Sadly though, biscuit won’t be her first word. She’s rather boringly gone for Dada and Mama. Now all my hopes rest on Charmaine’s son: I’ve still got a few weeks to see if I can work biscuit into his vocabulary.

If you have a baby you’d like to expose to biscuits and Beckett, we’re doing a baby friendly performance on Tuesday 6th March complete with monochrome toys to match our set.

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