MY WEEK: JASON ORANGE, ACTOR AND FORMER MEMBER OF TAKE THAT
Saturday 20 March 1999
Get up late at 11, a rare luxury since rehearsals started for Gob, we've been hard at it for three weeks. My girlfriend suggests we sunbathe in the local park, it's great to chill out together. We pour over the papers - there's a nice interview in one and a separate piece on the rest of Take That, asking where they are now and suggesting that most of them are washed up. We're all doing very different things now and don't see each other, but I'm going to invite the lads to the play.
At last! We're in the King's Head Theatre, it's chaos, the set is still under construction and everyone is running around. Tom Hayes, my co-star, and I try to get used to the confined space. The stage is tiny. It's rather bizarre after playing 20,000-seater stadiums to be on a stage where the audience are perilously close to the stage, they will be able to see the terror in my eyes. We try a run-through, it feels good but we are desperate to get before an audience. We retreat, exhausted to Pizza Express with James our director and Jim, the writer.
Up at nine, I have a cup of herbal tea and a banana for strength. I have a press photocall at lunchtime, Tom and I are met by a wall of telephoto lenses. Tom looks shocked, but it's nothing I haven't seen before. We clown around, mugging faces and doing handstands, the lights flash and shouts of "Over here, Jason" and "Do it again for me!" remind me of the heady days of Take That. I know they'll use the picture of me pulling a totally ridiculous face! It's the first performance tonight. Just before it starts, I'm very nervous. It's packed and really loud. Suddenly, I feel strangely calm. I finish the show exhausted but on a real high. Michael the producer cracks open the Bollinger and we let our hair down..
I'm woken at six-thirty by the car to take me to GMTV. It's St Patrick's Day - there are puppeteers, Irish leprechaun characters and two embarrassed- looking male models in g-strings. It's quite surreal, too much to take in this early.
As predicted, the Daily Star have printed a really naff picture of me. They make a snide comment about the show not being sold out, which it was, implying that I'm a "has-been". I don't give a toss what the tabloids write about me, it's only when friends and family ask "is that really true?" that the bad press affects me.
I wake up and get the shock of my life - the massive black and blue henna tattoo that I've had scratched across my chest for the production saying "God Head" has sweated off all over my sheets! The tattooist promised that it wouldn't. I throw the sheets into the wash and head for a workout. I still love keeping in shape, it keeps my head sorted.
I cook lunch for my girlfriend, sweet and sour vegetables with organic basmati rice, then watch Apocalypse Now, as part of my research for the role. The show tonight is good, the audience seem to like it, especially the younger ones. I'm intrigued to know how the older theatre critics will take to such an in-yer-face show. I get home late and discover that the henna hasn't come out. I add sheets to my shopping list!
Get up on a mission for furniture. I have rented a place in London and after 10 years of commuting between the North and London want a permanent base that feels like home. My passion is for antique furniture. I browse in the West End and meet friends for a coffee. I get to the theatre at three for more interviews: I don't mind talking about the play, but it's draining when I have to perform as well. I've got friends in tonight and I'm keen to hear their thoughts. All very positive. I get to bed knackered but content.
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