Huddersfield.  Rehearsals.   We’re here to work, to prepare for the shows, to develop material, and to learn together.  But we approach the work, much of the time, through play.  We directors, we slip in new ideas.  We mark out a journey together, circuitous sometimes, and unfocused, sometimes, in a playful, productive way.  Work disguised as something other.  We laugh together.  We eat cake.  We’re about to play a game.  “Find a partner”.  They double up, the girls and the men.  I’m sitting, watching, preparing for the day to come, while they prepare in their way, by being together, through play.  I sit and watch.  I see her slip her hand into his hand.  Causal affection, trusting, a kind of friendship.  They enter the game together, complicit competitors, wanting to win.  Other friendships form and fade, fleeting, lasting just long enough to heighten the enjoyment of this game.  She slips her hand into his hand.  They laugh together.  He puts his arm around her shoulder.  They leap and whoop and high-5, happy, free.  Care free.  I sit and watch.  Happy too, quiet witness to something utterly unremarkable, and utterly radical, and casually, carelessly profound.  These girls and these men, these children and these adults, just being together, totally at ease with each other, liberated from the rules of interaction, freed by play, not needing to be safeguarded, no prohibition on touch, no limit on friendship, not here, not in this space, together, safe, innocent, normal, and utterly utterly strange.  I sit here and watch, aware of the privilege of my insight into this world, and so looking forward to when the audience arrives, so they can share the insight, and the wonder, and the experience of being in this safe space of play and friendship and trust and joy and love, where a hand slips into a hand, when this girl decides she wants to simply be together, person to person, with this man.

David Harradine