[personal profile] wanda1969
Title: "Back Stage: Enter Stage Left, Act I"
Rating: Varies between chapters- all warnings posted with each chapter.
Spoilers/Disclaimers : Torchwood, belongs to the BBC and RTD, I’m just borrowing the characters- I own nothing here, nor do I make any money! So please don't prosecute! It’s an AU story, so I’m pretty sure that it shouldn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment of Torchwood itself.
Summary: Torchwood characters in a story set in the contemporary world of UK theatre/entertainment.
A/N: This one’s for chironsgirl, who so rightly pointed out that Tech rehearsal can be one of the most boring activities known to man, also emryldlady who fell off a scaff and survived!

Chapter Lists (to be updated this week-I’m a little behind!):
DW- http://wanda1969.dreamwidth.org/23356.html
LJ- http://wanda1969.livejournal.com/23796.html

Chapter 5

***

Owen sat at the table in the staff room, nursing a glass of fizzing Alka Seltzer.

“Good night, Owen?” Ianto asked as he entered the room and stared at the percolating coffee machine. “Have you been messing with the coffee machine?”

“Yeah, I needed caffeine… ugh… it was two for one on premium spirits at The Red Dragon,” He groaned and gulped down the liquid painkiller. “What time did you get done last night?”

“Just after seven thirty, no thanks to you! What were you up to up there? Knitting?”

Owen looked both confused and in a certain amount of pain, as he waited for the effervescent analgesics to take effect.

“The cables Owen. If it hadn’t been for the fact that Jack gave me a hand I’d probably still be up there untangling that mess.”

“Jack?” said Owen, incredulously.

“Jack Harkness. He came on stage and gave me a hand. Turns out he’d make a pretty good Technician.”

“Hell, Ianto. Carry on mixing with the turns and next thing you know you’ll be wearing a bloody tutu and playing the Panto Fairy.”

“Panto Fairy?” The door opened and Toshiko arrived.

“Looks like Ianto’s fraternising with the enemy… He had Jack bloody Harkness helping him out with the Lighting last night!”

“Jack Harkness?”

“I’ve just had this conversation, Tosh,” Ianto said, getting bored. “He helped me out with the focussing and sorting out the faulty wiring- he’s done a bit of back stage work. At least it had something to do with work- you’re a fine one to talk with your past record at trying to get the turns and twirlies into bed.”

Perking up, Owen chose to ignore the last sentence. “You ought to know better than to trust actors who pretend to know what they’re doing on stage, Tea Boy.”

“I ought to know better than to trust Stage Managers who pretend to know what they’re doing on stage.” He poured himself a large mug of black coffee and sniffed it experimentally. “Want a cup, Tosh? Although I ought to warn you that Owen made it. If it’s as bad as his rigging you may want to give it a miss.”

Toshiko laughed and looked at the time on her mobile. “I’ll have to give him the benefit of the doubt. No time for a trip out to Costa- it’s almost time for Tech to start, you two.”

That turned out to be the longest proper chat that the three had the rest of that working day. Twelve hours of marking the positions of the sets on stage and last minute adjustments, and the tabs were closed on the Technical Rehearsal, with Owen mumbling that the whole thing could have been done and dusted in time for Happy Hour at the local round the corner if “some bloody turns hadn’t hi-jacked the sodding proceedings and used them as an extension of the Dress Rehearsal.”

Still, the team and a few of the cast members made their way to the pub as soon as they could. A couple of drinks to wind down was what they all needed.

***

Jack arrived ten minutes late at The Aneurin Bevan. By the time he’d washed and removed the stage make-up that he’d been wearing to make sure that the lights were right, and got changed, he was one of the last out of the Dressing Rooms.
He looked around the room for a second or two, but it wasn’t too hard to spot the large group of Aladdin refugees. He spotted Chris, one of the stage hands. Chris was from Manchester and had a penchant for eyeliner, diamonté earring studs and some of the most flamboyant mannerisms Jack had ever seen- and that was saying quite a lot from someone in his career; the guy would be easy, if you liked that kind of thing. But Jack didn’t- even if from their brief acquaintance he seemed nice and amusing enough. Chris was just that bit too camp. Jack didn’t consider himself gay, but equally he knew he wasn’t straight either- instead, he liked to think he was unbiased about such matters as gender. Whatever he decided to categorise himself as, he just didn’t have an affinity with some of the more ‘over the top’ aspects of the UK gay scene, even though he might make his bread and butter in entertainment and musical theatre.

There was only one person he wanted to see. Ianto Jones. It wasn’t that Jack thought he stood a chance; it had become abundantly clear as soon as he’d talked to Ianto that the man was straight, with a well and truly permanent girlfriend to boot. No matter- Jack was going to be far too busy to indulge his baser instincts, what with the show and some of the associated promotion work for the new television series, ‘Torchwood’. He was happy enough just hanging out with Ianto, and maybe he could hold the Welshman to that ‘First Night Party drink’ a few days early.

But there was no sign of Ianto, or Toshiko and Owen, for that matter. He decided that he’d just have the one drink, make his excuses and then leave. Mind made up, he leant against the bar and waited for the barmaid to finish serving the customer to his right, a task which seemed to be taking an age due to the young woman’s inability to remember the large order.

Just when it appeared he was finally about to be served he felt a hand on his
shoulder. He turned to see Ianto, with Toshiko and Owen standing just behind.

“You haven’t been served then yet, have you? We’ve only just finished up at the Theatre.”

“Hi Ianto… Owen Toshiko… just about to order now,” he replied as the barmaid appeared in front of him.

“I’ll get these. I seem to remember promising you a drink for helping out,” Ianto smiled and pushed in towards the bar brandishing a twenty pound note in his hand.

“Now there’s an offer I can’t resist, especially if you’re going to start using those beautiful Welsh vowels on me.” The actor broke into one of his ‘best’ toothy (and just a little cheesy) grins and observed that Ianto appeared to be flushing at his comment- either that or the pub was overly hot after the chilly nighttime air.

***

Jack stretched to another two drinks. He had ended up sitting on the edge of the large group along with the three other latecomers. Owen Harper’s initial acerbic attitude belied a barbed sense of humour, with, much as the Stage Manager tried his best to hide it, a large helping of loyalty and respect towards his friends and colleagues. As for Toshiko Sato, it transpired that she was an enormous science fiction fan, but without some of the more obsessive traits of her fellow enthusiasts. So, for once, Jack didn’t mind the discussion she initiated about the pros and cons of the ‘New Who’ versus the classic version. She’d been as surprised as Ianto, when Jack revealed that, contrary to popular belief, he had spent a great deal of his life in Britain - and Doctor Who was seen as ‘must see’ entertainment to his parents. He wasn’t new to the show when he got the casting call.

It would have been nice to speak to Ianto a little more he thought, and then reminded himself that the Welshman was off limits, and, anyhow, he wasn’t here to pick up the locals. On top of that, he didn’t need any complications just now. For over fifteen years he had plugged away: children’s TV in the UK when the work in the States wasn’t forthcoming (and who remembered those appearances on Saturday morning telly now?), understudy duty and minor roles in hit musicals. Sure, later he’d had his successes, and quite a number of accolades, but, until recently, he was far from being the star he had aimed to be when he first started out. His appearances in Doctor Who had finally brought him to the fore. It was make or break time, and he fully intended to take full advantage of the opportunity.

To Be Continued…

Notes:

Tabs- colloquial: curtains. Real usage- curtains that mask the wings/side of stage.
Twirlies/ twirlys- dancing girls. Can be a term of ridicule.
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September 2012

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