Monday, October 30, 2006

Had a shocking rehearsal yesterday. And an expensive one as this was at the Quaker Meeting House so costs us the prime total of £13 an hour. However, given how much dithering and faffing seems to spring from being in something more closely resembling the real stage space, I feel (mostly) glad that we've lashed out to pay for it.

Books down a week ago - actually, I'm looking at the calendar and it was like 2 weeks ago. And you always expect it to take a terrible dip when people are floundering around remembering lines. To be fair, you don't expect people still to be trotting round clutching the book. But then, we had three people missing last night. The poor hardy prompt read in for them all. So it was hardly circumstances conducive to success. Nonetheless, it was hardly satisfactory.

My greatest sorrow was that Christelle - so cheerfully positive last time she saw it - shook her head with sorry gloom and said she "didn't believe anyone". Her greatest insult. So that's a problem to add to the long list.

I received feedback from one of the actors on Fri night at the comedy slave auction (at which I was sold off for £40 to host a Stars in their Eyes party at my flat. Got off very lightly I feel!) that I wasn't giving enough detailed direction. And to be fair, this was only adding to the chorus (I say that melodramatically although perhaps it's only one other that has seriously said this). So I tried hard to take copious notes last night and wade, treacle-like, through them at the end of each act. Except we ran out of time for act two notes. Something to look forward to.

Anyway, I was foul tempered by the time we'd finished. Hating everyone. But then my sweet technical boys wanted to consult me so we trotted off to the pub and I came away feeling curiously happier. Maybe even if the acting is poor, the lights and sound will be so marvellous that no-one will notice..?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

All hail to the master. He has decreed that he will conduct the Thursday groups alone. I feel absurdly relieved. Why should I worry so much about relinquishing such control as I have (not enough, according to some) for one night only? Control freakery - although clearly in the most discrete of forms.

Apparently, according to my 'friend' Mr Neill, I need to be more decisive, not to say crueller with my cast. It all kicked off because one innocent cast member asked to be excused from Tuesday's rehearsal as she has a dancing class. She's been missing Tuesdays since we began. I can't find much reason to object to this as I know she'll be perfect on the night. Is already perfect. But others have made wild objection to this. And I know it's unfair on the others and it does irritate me so I should say I do mind. And yet.

I am too nice. It's undoubtedly true. But luckily as I get more weary, I expect my niceness will become increasingly well-hidden. I'm still eagerly awaiting the moment when my patience evaporates and I scream / snarl at them all. Roll on the day. The trouble is I know I'll get no satisfaction when this moment comes. I'll only feel like I've dreadfully let myself down.

So scene 5 tonight after groups last night in Edinburgh and a meeting in Hamilton today. I'm thinking of another game (Peter Brook this time) to perk me - I mean them - up.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Well, it was bound to happen. I've already cancelled one rehearsal this week. I had a client night out (i.e. obligatory) in Glasgow on Thursday so moved the rehearsal to Wednesday. Then I had to do focus groups in Dundee on Wednesday so I binned the rehearsal altogether. They'll just have to work harder on Sunday. Then of course I ended up doing focus groups in Glasgow last night and rushing from that to the night out (The Grill Room on Royal Exchange Square - definitely worth the rush as I had some delicious sea bass with a charming set of clients).

But it's all happening again. Next week I'm rehearsing Tues and Thurs and I've got groups on Monday and Wednesday. Monday in Edinburgh at least and Wednesday in Aberdeen. But no. That's not enough. So seems I might have to haul myself through to Glasgow on the Thursday night as support for some more groups. And I want to wail: "but what about my play?" It is surely one of the least compatible day jobs with an evening hobby. Well I guess the trouble is that it isn't simply a day job.

I think I'm going to slyly not tell the cast that I might not be able to make it and get someone else to take the rehearsal if need be. So Brian, if you're reading this, don't tell. But we've only got 4, almost 3 weeks and I can't be cancelling more rehearsals. Cruel times.

Still, tonight could have been worse. Had a depth interview booked for 6:30 (on a Friday?!) and she turned up almost an hour early so now I'm done and can run run away. So of course I could have taken the ticket I was offered to the Scottish Advertising Awards because I'd have been done in plenty time to make the start of dinner. Yowwwlll.

Happy days.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Scene 2 last night. With almost a complete cast in attendance. Aside from the lovely Danny who's in New York. And Margaret who has her dancing on a Tuesday night. And Sarah who was working / ailing. And Nigel who has something I don't know what on a Tuesday. But aside from this, all present and correct. And as most people are in scene 2, this was quite a feat.

I tried a little cast bonding to kick things off on the grounds that rehearsals to date have been dull and humourless in my bid to just tell people where they need to be standing and when (and oh my god Peter Brook chastises this kind of director - the deadliest apparently). So we played a brilliant (to my mind) game which I learnt about at the weekend from poor snapped achilles tendon Nick. I can see the game holds greater appeal when played by a nubile pack of 20 year old women. But 'sticky toffee pudding' in CCC style amused me nonetheless.

And we did valuable work (I thought) on the scene. The servants at last I think realise when they bring suitcases etc. onto the stage. We worked out how to get them off again when necessary. Did some good character work (I thought). Tried to persuade people not to recite their lines in the manner of probably great epic theatre. And when we did a final run through of the scene with everyone (who was there) off their books, it was looking pretty good. Keep your fingers crossed...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Limped through the run-through yesterday with a floor covered in masking tape denoting edges of the stage, of the ramp, of the wings etc. I suppose it could have been worse.

On the plus side, everyone looked a bit less squashed with a respectable amount of space to spread out into. And I think the split level will work really well. Should give us some nice visual effects.

But oh my goodness, 4 weeks to go.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I keep saying this. Maybe it's reassuring myself. But I think we're getting there.

Did scene 5 and 6 last night with almost a complete cast. Some of them are going to be very good.

It's nice. I'm knackered.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oddly and fortuitously, Frankfurt was rather as I had imagined the 'world of CCC'. Except it was rather more polished and shiny than CCC-land which, in my head, is rather more 'shabby-chic' as e-bay would have it. Still, a good starting point.

I think we're getting there. Of course, I've said that before and we turned out not to be. But I have all my bit parts cast - for the moment anyway. We still have cast on holiday, always on bloody holiday. So I haven't ever had a scene run through with a complete cast in attendance. I could never have imagined how frustrating that would be. Still, now I know.

But then there are the faithful "little people" who turn up patiently and perfectly on time, week after week, to say their two lines before dissolving away again into the night. It seems very unjust.

We've had no takers so far for this fantastical idea about a schools matinee. Although this does have the handy consequence of meaning that I don't have to put together a workshop for a bunch of sullen schoolchildren. But at least the ticket line is up and running for the real show nights.

And my production crew seem to be beavering away (although god knows really whether they're doing anything or not - but you must hope). So getting there.

Hey, we start five weeks today. Ulp. Think about Frankfurt instead.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I am fascinated by the amount of excellent graffitti that I see around the place. It's becoming something of an obsession. This from Frankfurt. Which proved to be a great little break.

Until I arrived back to discover that two of my actors hadn't turned up to rehearsal again. It's quite fascinating. I have emailed them both numerous times, phoned them even more numerous times, giving them every opportunity for get out under the sun. But still no word, no call, no text. And still the non-appearance. Mesmerised by the rudeness. I should be tolerant. Maybe a horrible accident has befallen (both of) them. But it is nonetheless exasperating.

So proceed again with recasting. Now we have resorted to an open call for auditionees which I had been struggling to avoid as I didn't want to seem desperate. Surely, I felt, I am more organised than someone who would resort to a desperate last minute call for actors. Still, 6 weeks to go and I have to shelve my pride. A sorry downward slide into begging.

We have elicited some responses already. I think I have an excellent replacement for one of the disappeared. I'm struggling a little more for the other. Oh, and I potentially have another who at least has had the courtesy to indicate that he might pull out. But I need to try and replace him too. I feel like a hamster in one of those endlessly spinning wheels.

But then on the other hand, the actors I do have are getting pretty good. I had a rehearsal on Tuesday - only last night in fact - with the two singers, with Simon and Grusha. And that was lovely as we had rather more time to play about with things.

I realised that a kind of non-time-wasting mania always seems to grip me as soon as I have more than about 6 actors in a room at once. So we rattle through scenes and I despatch people home with a ruthless efficiency once they're done. So I maybe need to allow a little more play time. Still, books down in a couple of weeks. Plenty of time to play then.

But it's all blocked. For those that have been there at any rate. Just need some actors now. Give me a shout if you're interested.