This evening I went along to the Warehouse Theatre for the last of three performances of Families aren’t just for Christmas, which included three monologues I had written around the experience of my father’s illness and death. The show had some excellent comic writing and acting in it. Sara Hammerton and Conrad Toft reproduced an all too familiar dialogue (written by Conrad, who also directed) about the annual tugs of war between competing in-laws as to where the family will spend Christmas and Cherise Silvestri gave an excellent performance as a bubbly wife experiencing the upsides and downsides of marrying a divorcee in Carrie Caunce’s A Holly Jolly Christmas. Watching my own pieces was a fascinating experience. The first time, in rehearsal, I was deeply moved. Once I had got over the emotional response, however, I was interested to see how the experienced actor playing me, John Howard, adapted to the very different dynamics of the public. The first night the audience was largely made up of language students and so he played more to the room. The second night the audience was very responsive and empathetic and so he played for long, evocative silences. The last night, tonight, the audience was a little less responsive, so he shortened the silences. Gratifyingly – though thanks largely to John’s acting – the pieces seemed to work well. And – also thanks to John – my father’s dying message to his sons about the importance of brothers was transformed into a universal theme. It was quite an experience.