Friday, January 26, 2007

And working working working. Late every night this week. Great times. Now I'm up in Aberdeen in hideously expensive Starbucks courtesy of hideously expensive T-mobile, about to run and get the train back to Edinburgh. Great times. Still, having sat through a morning of lacklustre civil servants yesterday, I was reminded yet again of how lucky I am to do the job that I do.

But to the point. I shortlisted two plays out of all those that I had read, got my beloved to read both and following his suggestion, am pursuing Abi Morgan's "Tiny Dynamite". Not that her agent has actually given me permission to pursue this. But I have lodged my application with them and await a response. Have also lodged an application with the Quaker Meeting House and Diverse Attractions for an evening slot in week 2 of the festival. Let us wait and see what I get.

My top ten embarrassing moments

10. Anything involving being 14 and lurking round the corner of various school buildings lying in wait for my beloved English teacher, Mr McKenzie. And then giggling like a fool when he finally appeared.

9. The DJ calling out “hey there, zebra legs” when I walked into a school disco dressed in a black and white striped lycra mini skirt paired with scarlet tights and a scarlet top which left little to any 15 year old onlooker’s imagination. Although this to be fair was a mixture of abject shame and secret delight that now I was worthy of recognition, albeit by a shadowy school disco DJ. Hindsight suggests I was wrong to feel secret delight.

8. Cleverly telling the Nottingham Herald and Post that I fancied my fellow Young Enterprisee, Phillip, when I was interviewed to boost sales of our tie-dyed T-shirts. And arriving at the Royal Ordnance factory to see blown-up photocopies of the article scored through with yellow highlighter adorning all the doors.

7. Picking “Maybe This Time” as an audition song for some musical or other at university. Because I do sound much like Liza Minnelli.

6. Charmingly advancing on the managing director in my first agency with my hand pro-offered, saying it was a pleasure to meet him and I was Claire. “I know,” he observed reasonably, “I interviewed you”.

5. Thinking it was a good idea to dress up as Miss Santa for the office Christmas party and distribute gifts to staff and clients alike. And not noticing the male contingent of the party clustering under the (open) spiral staircase as I descended. (But in my gym knickers, I had the last laugh.)

4. Drunkenly begging an esteemed Planning Director for a job at a midsummer awards do. (Still, just under two years later, it paid off.)

3. Flashing my hold-ups to the Managing Director as I stood up to help him fix the photocopier and my dress flew open.

2. Being ‘disconnected’ after ten minutes of blood giving because my rare blood group blood wasn’t streaming from my body fast enough. And then bursting into sobbing tears of rejection in the coffee area. God bless my mother for her hanky and stoic lack of embarrassment.

1. The blog disaster.

To all the people that I have ever embarrassed, I humbly seek forgiveness.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Working working at the moment. Had groups on Tuesday night and more groups tonight. But then the weather's so miserable that I may as well be cooped up in a studio with a pack of surly teenagers. Good excuse not to go to the gym.

I went cap in hand last week to the committee, humbly requesting that they consider my proposal to direct. Of course it's a hard call for them as we have no other prospects on the horizon. The age old director dilemma. So they graciously said they'd be happy for me to do something in the festival if I was willing. And they seemed amenable to my using the more pricey venue if they'll have us.

And then I went (fake) cap in hand to the general meeting. A rather perkier attendance than usual. I would that this boded well for the new year. But I suspect the fresh blood will quickly fall away once January poverty has turned into nice short month February. Anyway, the assembled company was quite amenable to my directing a festival show.

People helpfully suggested that I get an indication of interest and choose a play based on a potential cast. Oh what a democratic way of doing things. Perhaps I'll learn my lesson but I'm still comfortably settled in the 'choose a play and then root around wildly trying to find a suitable cast' camp.

So in my thin and squidgy windows of opportunity between working, I have been reading reading reading. The innocent heady days of happy opportunity.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I spent a happy hour in the dusty confines of the SCDA library with the custodian huffing around in the background. A fine man that would dedicate six hours of his life every week, every year, to dusty confines and re-arranging twenty boxes of books from the basement of Edinburgh City Council library. But huffing nonetheless.

It's remarkably well-stocked actually. I guess I haven't been there for a few years, preferring to rely on some half-remembered performance from way back when to select my scripts. But they now have a fair few 'modern' scripts scattered amongst the shelves. Some Traverse scripts. Some Royal Court scripts. Even a National Theatre of Scotland script.

I flicked my way through the spines looking for anything that wasn't a dusty stapled spine. Perfect bound only. Terrible criteria. I dug out "Tiny Dynamite" by Abi Morgan which I saw years ago at the Traverse and loved. Cast of three though and it would be a bastard to stage. I've always loved the Jean Anouillh 'Becket' but that's all men and too long for the festival (which I'm swithering towards). But I'm fond of his 'Antigone' too.

And then various other bits and pieces. Something called 'Push Up' by a German author whose name I couldn't possibly try and spell. Shimmelhimmelung or something. Something called 'Rabbit'. And another couple of things with mean and moody photography on the front of them which look bleak enough to keep me happy.

So I'm reading reading reading now. Such a lovely sense of possibility. Before all the dull practicalities crowd in.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Off to the SCDA play library to read read read plays. Exciting times.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I’m reading scripts wildly now. I’m not sure about a festival show or a November show. We have a director possibly lined up for May. I’m tempted by the festival because it seems my last efforts in this vein have been rather more successful – financially at least – than poor CCC. But then the festival means you have to keep it to 2 hours all in and a skimpy set that can be flung up and flung down, all within the 2 hour confines. So not quite so satisfying artistically.

And for the festival, I can’t think of anything of the right length. For a full-length show, there are loads I would like to do. “Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer”. “Antigone.” “The Glass Menagerie”. “Macbeth”. And for a full-length show, maybe I could twist the arm of the Best Lighting Man in Edinburgh – if he’d ever work with me again. But then if I did a festival show, maybe I could twist the arm of the Best Sound Man in Edinburgh. Or maybe my brilliant DJ who crafted our “polaroids” soundtrack could be prevailed upon to craft something else. Decisions decisions.

And we don’t have a venue for a festival show. And the deadline for Diverse Attractions space has passed (20 December! I checked last week!). And maybe we could get into the QMH but maybe that would be a terrible financial risk. And I can’t bear to lose money on two shows in a row. (We lost £200 on CCC – which did nothing to ease the fervour of my wound-licking.) But maybe I’d be more likely to lose money on some obscure intellectual November show (Brecht for god’s sake – who thought that would sell tickets..?). But. But. But.

I consulted one of the chosen ones who said I should do a festival show, be selective with my casting and return to happy Polaroids form.

I’ll have to check with the committee first. Maybe they’ll refuse to have me back. I guess that’s the only advantage of being president…
So. My scars were a little healed by the mortifying apologies, despite my best protestations. The social jungle of December has been navigated and the rains of January usher in a joyfully empty social calendar. Aside from a neat little batch of focus groups waiting to snarl up the middle of the month.

So of course my head starts ticking over what I do next. A dance class maybe? I started capoeira on Saturday – in a shabby and ill-co-ordinated way of course. But this will not keep my mind occupied outside of wrestling with Scottish Enterprise, IRN-BRU, Hep C and s1 during my day job. So maybe a play? Just a little one? (Has she recovered from the wounds of CCC? I think she has.)
Something disastrous happened.

I started writing this blog way back when as a publicity stunt. I perhaps rather wistfully thought having a blog charting the progress of the play might attract some media interest. But despite my feeble feelers as the play date approached, no media fish bit. And my blog remained unread.

So I thought.

So my last feeble post (note the long time lapse between the last and the current post) was intended as an honourable record of mournful events to entertain me in my cyber dotage. It was not intended as a mournful cry for help. It was not intended to be read really.

But the worst that could have happened, did. Within 48 hours of posting, I received 2 fulsome apologies. Sincerely meant, I believe. And so got a horrifying brush with my own mini Kryptonite scenario. They were both very sweet but I’m sure I was ungracious in my embarrassment. So lesson learnt. Keep that which you want no-one to know well away from the ether. Those that you least want to read it will clearly hunt you down in your darkest hour.

Thank god I was reasonably polite about people during my limp through the production process. And I was only curbing my tongue then for the sake of the hundreds of journalists who’d be covering my trials and tribulations.

I might – because I’m hopelessly derivative always – take a leaf out of Belle du Jour’s blog and allocate people mystical letters. For the sake of a quieter life. The alternative – bin the blog and go back to my former discrete life – seems like a lacklustre cop-out.