The Rehearsal Diet

The blog has been quiet for a while as I’ve gone into rehearsals full time. This has required an astronomical amount of organising, especially in terms of childcare, as rehearsals tend to be a short but intense burst of work, often finishing around the kids bedtime, meaning not only school pick up has to be taken care of, but dinner and bedtime too. It has caused endless headaches and the set up of what I call the Childcare Matrix but more of that another time (I also go on tour in April, the sleepless nights that has caused…)

It is safe to say the Rehearsal Diet (also known as the On Set diet) is a flexible feast, consisting mainly of variations on snacking. Some days the snacking is super healthy; oatcakes, nuts and raisins, fruit. Other days it looks more like the biscuit isle at Asda; caramel bites, iced fingers, flapjacks (oats! They almost make it into the healthy section), chocolate (long discussions ensue with the director over the changes made to Crème Eggs, for example) and the rather amazingly priced Twirls at Mace; 4 for a pound!

Hot drinks are plentiful – because rehearsals almost always taken place in the cold (if you are rehearsing in a warm place at the moment you are almost certainly at drama school, in a top end production or in a warm country. Good for you). Some days endless cups of coffee hit the spot, on more considered days herbal and fruit teas take over.

Lunch is almost always brought in from home. Leftovers, hastily thrown together salads, a sandwich (protein is key, as it fills you up). Who can afford to buy lunch every day? We may be working but we’re not daft. The time we have lunch can of course vary wildly. Which is why snacking is so vital. As you get closer to the show, rehearsals become more intense and stopping to eat more inconvenient. Keeping hydrated and more, importantly, your voice lubricated, is very important so we all drink water constantly all day.

When production week finally arrives meals have to be carefully planned. Nothing too heavy and not too close to the show – nerves take over meaning I find it impossible to eat. However, I do need plenty of energy to get through the show so salad or veg and a bit of protein are ideal. Not too much sugar as this can cause a mid-show slump, but mini flapjacks are a good option for an energy hit. Ditto oatcakes which fill a gap without being too heavy.

GOF show pic

This is NOT a rehearsal.  It’s the Real Thing! Photo credit:  Chris Tweed

I am always ravenous after a show. Not immediately, when I’m apt to neck a glass of wine to start the process of coming back to earth. But soon after I could easily to do a three course meal. I don’t of course, it’s practically the middle of the night, but some carbs go down well. If I don’t eat I feel horrible the next morning. Because then I have to get up and do it all again. Hurrah!

Currently appearing in Gordon Osram’s Funeral.  You can read a review here (thanks to Belfast Times).


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