Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Man At The Bus Stop was reading Philip Pullman on Friday.

On Saturday I was very cultural and went to see a (rubbishy) aerial show at Ocean Terminal ("The Night Before Christmas") and then rather more rewardingly, a Stellar Quines rehearsed reading at the Trav which was very interesting. And the director was hot which helped to hold my attention.

On Sunday I had my auditions for 4:48. Ten people turned up which paniced me a bit as I'd envisaged a choice three or four so I could just cast them all, divvy up the lines and get on with it. I hate telling people they're not cast. I always feel rather crazily as if I'm letting them down. But ten is too many I think so I need to start on some kind of whittling down process.

Helpfully a couple of them have already fallen by the wayside. Gordon realised that he would be in Paris at the time of the festival - entirely my fault for not posting the show dates on our website. Dummy dummy. And then Gary emailed me saying that on reflection, he thought it was "too arty". Something of a euphemism I'm sure. But it cuts down my list of people I'll need to phone and not cast. So I suppose it's all to the good.

This week my final playwriting Trav workshop has been pulled forward. Having crammed reading two plays and writing some scrappy piece into the last fortnight, I need to watch a movie and write a self-contained piece of script - say just about ten minutes - for Monday coming. Five days away.

ArrGGhhhh. But I do bring it upon myself.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Saw a lovely production of Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" at St Stephens by second year "acting and performance" students from Telford College last night.

My only experience of the piece before last night was (what a heathen I am) a charming recent VW ad.

Beautifully staged, the director had the actors (16 of them!) writhing around under sheets for most of it and it was extraordinarily effective. Between that and the co-ordinated pyjamas that they were costumed in, I have all the inspiration I need for 4:48. A judicious choice of my evening's entertainment (courtesy of Mr Cheales, I might add). So as ever, thanks Nick.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Speaking to the keeper of the purse strings today, he said, all full of slyness, "We were sorry you didn't make it to the after show party. But perhaps you were otherwise engaged".

I explained that i'faith, I had been cat-sitting on the other side of the city to the after-show party and had ill-fancied my chances of getting home in the tiny small hours.

"It was a shame you didn't make it. We missed you." Oh so penitent now that he's not hounding me for this and that.

I was tempted to say that he might have thought of this before his days and weeks of rudeness to me. But I bit my tongue. Probably my most useful asset.
An alarming number of people are registering interest in this one act play that I'm proposing. I feel vaguely intimidated by it as I have never known such pre-audition excitement for something I've been involved in. Already I feel the sinking stomach of dread at having to phone people and say they are not cast. I suppose alternatively I just head into it regardless with a cast of thousands.

Mind you, actors being actors, they're most likely full of fork-tongued promises that in reality, will come to nothing...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A typical post-show Monday night. Trudged home after work, dragged myself to the gym in the lashing rain and whipping wind, darted back home full of hyperactive life, made lists of things I needed to do, did three things at once all the while that I made my tea - and then fell asleep on the sofa in front of a documentary about Madeleine McCann. Chore-free days.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A foolhardy thing to do, 2am blogging. But I'm so relieved that it's all over.

Last night tonight. Audience figures crept up to 80. But much more exciting to me, in my producing capacity, was the fact that at one point, during the subsequent moving of the set out of the theatre, we had 14 men on stage.

Admittedly, a few of them were underage teenagers who were surely long past their curfew. But nonetheless, 14 men. A remarkable end to a quite remarkable show.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Second last night tonight. 56 in last night. Nothing disastrous happened (to my knowledge). I got a little adrenalin rush as the slightly vague girl who's supposedly assistant directing emailed me at 4pm yesterday afternoon to say she couldn't make it along that night, had she mentioned that before? (No.) And so I had to perform emergency props placing out between scenes. Which I managed slightly inexpertly. It was very strange being on stage during the show in a non-performing capacity. I wasn't quite sure that I liked it. And suddenly had much more sympathy with the props mistress who admitted as we were about to go stage that it made her sick with fear so that she grinned like a loon all the while that she was there. But apart from this slight flicker of excitement, it was an otherwise ordinary night.

I'm sure tonight will bring other such excitements.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Got 75 in last night. A tremendous audience for a first night (for us).

Of course the fear is that everybody came last night so tonight will be empty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Wild Honey" starts this week. Tomorrow in fact.

I've been a useless general manager I think. Shabbily skating from one panic to the next. Although to be fair, the situation hasn't been aided by a succession of small crises which have thrown up all kinds of unforeseen complications.

But the move-in went beautifully smoothly at the weekend. Clearly my wide paniced eyes imploring people at the AGM to help help help had some small impact. And I sawed a few pieces of wood and stuck some flowers into trellises and went back and forth to Subway on coffee and sandwich trips by way of moral support. I think I should like to be a runner if I had another life. I find these simple errands nicely satisfying.

And yesterday I sloped into the tech late after my writing workshop and painted a door black to hide a white patch and then went home again. Still, it's surely the thought that counts.

Should be a good show despite my shambolic efforts so do come see. Adam House on Chambers Street tomorrow through to Saturday at 7:30. Give me a special wink in the foyer and I'll give you a discount on your ticket price.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Well after two hours of me droning on at them about AGM business, the assembled company at the meeting were so brow-beaten that I think they would have agreed to me performing selected extracts from Mein Kampf at the One Act Play Festival.

I tried to warn them that 4:48 Psychosis is strange. Whether or not they heeded my warning will remain to be seen. But they said I could do it which marginally made up for another tortuous AGM and a joyless re-election for a further year's presidential duties.

As compensation, The Man At The Bus Stop this morning appeared to be dressed for casual day. He had a parka-like garment on over jeans and what almost looked like some kind of training shoe. The moment of first sighting was so surprising that I was shocked into saying hello to him. Disarming times. Hopefully he'll be spurred on to adopt ever more outlandish forms of dress...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

We currently have no proposed entry for the SCDA One Act Play Festival next year. And it suddenly occurred to me - practically on the eve of delivering my AGM presidential speech about how the past year's activity has been all about me - that maybe I could seize the opportunity to direct again.

The One Act Play Festival is a commercial low risk scenario. Almost no risk. If it weren't for the fact that the audience for this is pretty much the same as the audience we get the rest of the year round. So I suppose you could argue that you could actually do untold economic damage at the festival by producing something so godawful that no-one will ever come and see one of your shows again.

So maybe subconsciously as the final nail in the almost hammered shut lid of our theatre group, the idea of entering an extraordinarily strange play by Sarah Kane, mistress of the bleak, popped into my head a week or so ago. I wouldn't ever quite dare to produce this as a commercial venture but given that you pay an entry fee and staging costs only for the festival, it struck me as a brilliant opportunity for a little self-indulgence.

So I darted along to see Douglas at the strange world-within-a-world that is the SCDA play library last night and picked up a copy of the script. Had a bit of a peruse, completely fell in love with the way that she writes (wrote in fact) again and decided that I would propose this as an entry at our AGM tonight. I shall keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Glory of glories, it appears that The Man At The Bus Stop lives on my street. And not just any old place on my street but the house that the police (when I interviewed them for a work project a couple of years ago) dubbed the crack den.

Turned out that they were joking (surely the police don't joke..?) but I still am inclined to embrace the idea that the mild-mannered civil servant is a part-time dealer on the side. His Paisley scarf is just a cunning decoy...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Half demented with this forthcoming play of ours. "Wild Honey" by Michael Frayn based on an undiscovered first script of Chekhov's (I think this is the favoured publicity wording) is a fun play - althouugh riddled with typically Chekhovian insecurity and self-doubt. There are some lovely characters in it, notably Platonov, the man that every woman fancies and the gorgeously charismatic and practically edidible Anna, the woman that every man fancies. And let's guess what happens.

I have somehow brilliantly found myself general managing, sorting costumes and trying to organise a front of house rota for the show week itself. Smart move. The show starts next week and to add to the injustice, I'm going to miss a night out with the Italian Godfather, relation of one of the girls I work with, in order to conscientiously tend to my costuming duties. Embittered times.

I shall not complain. Not in the company of the fellow cast and crew anyway as my other role as producer appears to be to serve as the one that everyone complains to. And oh my goodness what rudeness I have encountered in this production. Sometimes breathtakingly so. By no means is this a blanket phenomena. The rudeness seems to be only the preserve of a very few. And many others are cheerfully good humoured about the whole thing. But anyway. Cathartic blogging and I shall stumble on through the dust of our costume store to grimace through another day.

I found solace tonight in a little beachside run. And being the 5th of November, the beach was considerably busier and fire-strewn than usual. I can pretty confidently say I've never had a prettier or sparklier run. So I shall go to my bed tonight with this as consolation. And just growl a little under my breath now and again until next Saturday comes and goes.

Show starts next Weds for those that would like to come and view the fruits of our collective labour. Adam House on Chambers Street at 7:30 every day til next Sat. Roll up with your coach parties. I fear Chekhov will be almost as popular as my Brecht was...