Monday, July 30, 2007

The Fringe is starting to filter throughout Edinburgh. The Udderbelly is up. Almost. Venue signs are springing up like mushrooms. It's tremendously exciting.

And my favourite place of all in Edinburgh in the festival - of all in Edinburgh ever in fact - opened its doors (or should that be gates?) on Saturday. Beautiful people days are here again.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Damascus was great. Nice set, great use of music, brilliantly acted. I was particularly taken with a Mr Paul Higgins who featured last year in Black Watch and popped up again here. I could speak more about him but I must be careful that this blog doesn't turn into a lustfest.

And what a lovely script. I don't know very much of David Greig's work which is shameful really as the papers are all heralding him as Scotland's pre-eminent playwright of the moment. Unsurprising I suppose given that he has an adaptation of The Bacchae in the International Festival and another of his plays being produced by TAG at the Traverse.

But it was very nicely put together. Very funny which I hadn't expected. A little woolly in places perhaps (says she!) but they are only on their second night. And very thought-provoking. There was a speech that I was particularly taken with at the end of the first act:

"Could someone ever comprehend all the angles of your life? All your lies and stories. And even if they could, how would they know which of your lies you believed and which you told to please your lover or which you simply entertained for an afternoon in a fit of of whimsy."

Brian suggested that I liked this speech so much on account of my deceitful life. I couldn't possibly comment.

Anyway, Mr Greig is obviously a pretty smart guy. And I can say this with a tiny modicum of authority as to my (restrained) delight, I got to meet him afterwards. Lovely Jeanette knows him of old. And we had a great little chat. Well, they did and I loitered in the background trying to seem delicately intellectual but grinning all the while like a loon. Clever and cute too. What more could a girl want..?

More all boy action this morning as Madeleine is in Ibiza so I got Lucien and Anthony to myself for the (10am start - Lucien has a prom tonight in scenic Bonnyrigg) rehearsal. We finished with a photo shoot on the Meadows. For publicity purposes you understand. I felt like a terrible predator for the second time this weekend. It's becoming an inconvenient habit.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Met my sound man last night. A friend of JTs so hope he will turn out to be a friend of mine. He seemed reasonably enthusiastic - in that unvocal unexpressed with any physical or verbal gesture way of the young. And he's taken away my music CD and Andy's faithfully gathered electricity SFX CD.

Conveniently he apparently lives under an electricity pylon so was thinking he might just record its crackles live.

I spoke lovingly of Hamish and the soundtrack he'd put together for Polaroids to try and inspire him to great achievements. He said, rather worringly, he would probably just run it all live on the night. Good. I have eerie visions of having to wrest control of the sound desk from him mid-show as he drowns out the sound of the actors with the noise of an electricity pylon and a background of traffic. But I'm surely being bleak.

Also heard at long last yesterday from the Evening News. In the name of encouraging local talent, they are having an award ceremony this year for local groups. Seems you have to get one of your cast members to fill out a series of questions that they give you and then I guess that coupled with the review of the play serve as the judging criteria.

I am hoping that we will get some press coverage on the back of it. But as their awards night is the Wednesday of our show week, I'm doubtful of the value of it. Though I suppose if we win, people still have time to come and see the show. So it's not all bad!

Off to see my first Fringe show tonight. David Grieg's "Damascus" at the Trav. I suppose it's not technically Fringe as it's a preview show. But it's certainly almost the start. It's quite exciting.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rehearsal last night and they're getting pretty good. Madeleine has dyed her hair blue. I was momentarily stopped in my tracks but then she informed me that it's semi-permanent in preparation for her Ibiza trip (today - happy holiday!) and actually I quite like it.

As my anonymous commenter might observe, the script does call for her to have 'funny hair'.

Still dithering over my opening track. I might look for other versions of 'nature boy'. Though I'm liking M83's "teen angst" more and more.

And I'm excitingly meeting up with a prospective sound man tomorrow. Turns out that he lives locally so I suggested he come round to mine. I felt like a stranger promising Charlie sweeties. He texted back saying 'yeah thats kl'. Oh to be young and ungrammatical again.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A precious moment away from my burdensome music for two observations about my stalk-ees.

The Man Who Lives Opposite who got a new car. Well, seems it's not just a nice little vintage grey car. But in fact a vintage Porsche. Model I don't know what but something rare. And it is apparently worth something in the region of £60k. (This information courtesy of Ingrid's car-loving cousin.)

The plot thickens. Its MOT is up at the end of the month so is he just car-sitting? Does he work for a garage? As there is (the obsession has deepened to this level) a vintage porsche garage in Edinburgh. Or is he just rich? I must move on from this interest though as I have now 'realised' that he goes away at weekends to visit his girlfriend. Or boyfriend. So no point in putting the sign up in my window. I think he's taken.

And out of cruelty to others comes good fortune for me. The poor boy who I spent months getting the early bus to avoid has now been made redundant. So I'm free to get the 7:55 service when I'm feeling lazy. Today was one such morning. And there, right on cue, was The Man At The Bus Stop. Reading a book. Last time I saw him reading, the book title was "the search for god" or somesuch erudite tome. Brian has read it so I immediately felt a kinship with the man. (Obviously rather unjustifiably as it was Brian that read the book and not me.) Today he was reading something equally worthy-looking called "White Gold" which I felt was something to do with slavery. Though I could be wrong. Intellectual tastes.

Gratifyingly I had my copy of Fast Company for the bus journey. Not that he would have noticed because what freak monitors their bus companion's reading habits..? But I shan't take my current classy novel of the moment, Jilly Cooper's "Wicked", onto the bus with me. Just in case.
I seem to be spending all of my free time at the moment listening listening to prospective music for the play. I guess my task is aided by the fact that my sofas are still stashed in the spare room after the great sanding of the floorboards. So no place to relax and instead I must perch austerely on a dining chair, hunched over the stereo and fiddle and fuss with timings.

I think I'm almost there. I have at least a running order. With only a few gaps. My great dilemma is the all-important track one. I had thought of David Bowie's "Nature Boy" which, lifted straight from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, has a fantastic little v/o at the start of it about how the woman he loved is (gasp) dead. Even more poignant. But it seems somehow wrong to steal Ewan Macgregor's voice and attach it to my play.

I thought I'd seek my cast's opinion. Lucien was all for it. But then he's so polite, who can ever tell what he really thinks? Madeleine thought it was a bit long. Which it is - at 2 minutes something before we could start any lines. And Anthony was too hungover to care.

The alternative is a track called Moonchild by a band called M83 (courtesy of Danny Farrimond via Ross so thank you most kindly sir as it's lovely). I delayed the decision yesterday until we have a better idea of the running time (needs to be 1 hour and 10 mins) so can establish whether or not we can afford to waste 2 minutes on scene setting.

I'm sure professional theatre isn't as haphazard as this!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I croaked and stuttered my way through my five whole minutes of interview at Radio Forth.

When the lovely producer, Colin Oliver, had finished with me, I suggested we might need to re-record bits of it as I'd mangled the show title for example.

Tellingly, he laughed cheerily and said "no, no, it'll be fine".

So that'll end up on air then. Not.
Great days.

Off I go to find fame and fortune for 'Tiny Dynamite' on Radio Forth.

And I've almost completely lost my voice.

I love to think I'll sound super-sexy.

I fear the truth is I'll just sound like a weird freak.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Music music music. I wonder what my neighbours must think of me as I'm crazily listening to all kinds of music at the moment to try and put my soundtrack together. Lovely angel Ross has already done most of the work for me with his sack of CDs. But working out what should go where is a nightmare.

Still, I imagined that I attracted the attention of The Man Who Lives Opposite (who appears to have a lovely 'new' vintage car now) last night with my eclectic selection pulsing out across the twilight street. I expect he was wishing I would turn the volume down.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Having been directed by Christelle in previous productions, I remember it always used to bug me that she would sit beaming delightedly as we went through our paces at rehearsal after rehearsal. Almost no matter how bad we were, she would beam delightedly anyway.

But now I see that I have become that person. Even despite another incredibly measley portion of sleep the night before. (A night at Vegas in Princes Street Gardens which predictably made me think that Elvis' "Too Good to be True" would be a great choice of song for the soundtrack.)

We had the first full run-through yesterday. And they were just lovely. Of course there are lots of things to tighten up. Lots more lines to be learnt. Lots more stage directions to be remembered. Lots more opportunity to act rather than reciting words much as a parrot might. But on the whole, given that this was the first time since the initial read-through that we'd strung all the words together in the right order, it was pretty good. So I sat grinning like a lunatic throughout.

It helps that the lovely Andy seems to be as enamoured with the play as I am. And I'd lured Ross along as well to see whether he thought there was anything dreadful going on with it. I love this stage of a play when it starts looking like a proper show and your technical people are collecting around you and things are really starting to happen.

It also helps that I have a cracking set of actors. So you should book your tickets. My dream is to sell out on the fringe website before we start. I should really start distributing some flyers. And getting my T-shirts printed. Give me a shout if you want one...

Friday, July 13, 2007

I was down in the Lake District earlier this week on the shores of the lovely Lake Windermere for a planning session with a bunch of our clients.

And seizing a half hour for a swim in their slightly surreally tropically themed leisure centre before a night of terrible debauchery, I had a brilliant brainwave about the music for the scene where little Anthony appears "wrapped in every light in the house".

A little Andreas Johnson might be in order I think. If I can get the timing right. I was very pleased with my moment of aquatic inspiration.
I am going to be famous.

A man from Radio Forth called me yesterday and said could I come into the station next week and talk about the show - as they're doing a feature on local groups in the Fringe. At last, at last, my hour has come.

I feel of course vaguely apprehensive about it. Particularly as I find the sound of my voice repellant and can't believe anyone else would want to sit and listen to it on the radio. Still, I suppose the poor man couldn't tell that from a press release.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I heard a lovely story from Christelle at our most recent general meeting. I happened to be wearing a black and white dress.

And it seems that so did she. Hers was a polka dotted summer dress with a big ruffle around the bottom of the skirt. She was about to be married at the time to her beloved George who had just got a job at a semi-professional repertory theatre company. To help out his fiance, George asked the director of this theatre company if he might audition Christelle for the new season's company. The director declined his offer - albeit kindly- saying he had people enough.

Cut to a few weeks later. En route home from their honeymoon, George and Christelle Steele were strolling along Oxford Street in London in the sunshine. Christelle was decked out in her pretty black and white dress lapping up the sun, happy as you like.

They got home to a telephone message for George from this theatre director. 'Could he give him a call?' So he did. And this chap says "I saw you walking along Oxford Street a few days ago. I was going past on a bus. And you were with a really pretty girl in a black and white dress and I wondered if I might audition her for our new season?"

Christelle got the part. And attributes her success to this day to the black and white dress.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Saturday night saw our theatre group offer up a devised performance around the theme of "seven" from a few brave souls. To almost even fewer brave souls in the audience which was pretty disappointing. Of this, more later.

But briefly, my favourite moment of the night. Ian Aldred was charming Siobhan with sweet words about her recent guestimated 30th birthday celebrations. I observed that Siobhan was bridling with pleasure at his flattery. Siobhan, she of the delicate tongue, retorted, "bridling - my arse!" And John Kelly, dear honourable man of regular church going stock, exclaimed (clearly not hearing the hyphen), "Oh! I'd like to see that!"

You probably had to be there.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Terrible news!

My dad works long, hard and lovingly at the Nottingham Arts Theatre. It's a charming little theatre that presents 10 shows a year from the resident theatre group along with various touring productions. As ever in a big city, the opportunity for local / travelling groups to afford a fully equipped theatre is limited. And the Arts Theatre is one such venue, offering both a proper proscenium arched theatre as well as a very funky studio space.

But a funding crisis looms and the theatre now is dangerously close to closing. The Nottingham Evening Post appears not be seizing the opportunity to rally the outraged of Nottingham behind a campaign to save the theatre. So I shall have to settle for leading the movement via my blog.

Any generous benefactors who happen to be reading this should grasp the chance to do something worthy for the future of baby theatres everywhere. Your amateur theatre enthusiasts need you!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I've started blogging at work now. Just trite nonsensical stuff. But the trouble is that it's starting to eat into my personal 'blogging' time. The time when I might be otherwise engaged in writing about myself. I'll have to watch that I don't become neglectful.

Although I have been neglectful in recent times as I had another weekend away this last weekend. I'd love to pretend (as I did with the weekend before's party) that I found some useful insight for my festival show during this weekend. But actually it was really only notable for being the weekend that we darted around Derbyshire in Ingrid's shiny new (blue) MX5 listening to the Pet Shop Boys and braving the weather with the optimistic top down. Hairdressers' days.

Rehearsal tonight though. I'm so lagging behind in almost every aspect of this production. It's getting a bit embarrassing. I need to do some surreptitious catching-up so I can nag others about what they haven't done. If only they had known they were meant to do it.