Monday, December 31, 2007

Lots of art stuffed in between Christmas and New Year. Actually all mostly in one day. The Joan Eardley exhibition at the National Gallery and then the ECA Centenary exhibition at the City Art Gallery, along with a cute little exhibition called "Scissors Paper Stone" that celebrated the unique and individual charms of Edinburgh in paper, stone like ceramics and some other substances too and a (my favourite) exhibition on imagination which allowed you to fasten the wrong halves of animals together. A little street theatre and hair sculpture thrown in for good measure at The Night Afore in George Street. And before and after all of this, lots of drinking.

All an elaborate but pleasurable form of procrastination. I haven't even got as far as punching holes into my script and putting it into a folder. Unlike Some. Blocking this poor bastard play which starts rehearsing in oh 3 days will just have to wait.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

There's not much creative inspiration to be had watching the sort of nonsense that has been my viewing of choice this past couple of days. Not much practical creative inspiration at any rate.

I am now more determined than ever that I must sometime find myself in a position to direct Bugsy Malone, thanks to the mandatory Christmas Day showing. Though most of all, I would like to be in it. Twice ideally, so I can play both Blousey and Tallulah. These would be my dreams. My dad's theatre did an adult version as a 48 hour bank holiday challenge. So I still clutch - albeit limply - to the idea that one day, I will be involved in such a thing too.

But tonight, a greater challenge will be posed. The BBC have produced Ballet Shoes, my childhood faithful favourite which I must have read at least 300 times and still read once every couple of years. Dear Noel Streatfeild, giver of so much pleasure. So it may be after tonight that I petition the Grads in the New Year to let me produce Ballet Shoes as a festival show. Maybe I could also be Pauline. I would never have made a good Posy. And have no interest in quiet and studious Petrova. But Pauline, plucked from obscurity to Hollywood at the age of 14 after a girlhood of Shakespeare and pantomime: that is my kind of girl.

8:30. BB1. Be sure to tune in.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Handel's Messiah on Classic FM, a very tasty half-price Chianti (special offer at the Co-op / Scotmid - to take a leaf from Mr Neill's book and blog about bargains for a second) and I'm busily (middle-classedly) procrastinating over wrapping my presents.

I am pretty much sorted for the play now. I've finally portioned up the text. It took ages - particularly if you count up all the bus rides when I lovingly studied the lines. And of course I've done it in splendid isolation so who knows how it will actually sound. ..

I posted most of my scripts to the actors on Tuesday and gave out a couple more last night at It's a Wonderful Life (inevitably an improvement on the last Filmhouse film I saw). So now I just need to think about blocking it.

I realised this week that I am startlingly inarticulate when it comes - sometimes - to explaining what I mean. A few people have asked me now what I'm meaning to say with this play. And I like the language but that doesn't quite cut it. I'm interested in the themes that she's playing around with - but does that make me a suicuidal psychotic? I have a vague idea of what I'm trying to achieve with the way that I've portioned up the lines. But I'm spectacularly bad at explaining what that might be to anyone else.

Maybe I can take a class.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My 201st post. That's quite exciting. For something that started as a publicity stunt.

Saw a couple of films at the weekend. I expected one to be rubbish and one to be good. In fact, they were the other way around.

I went (with a token child) to see Enchanted on Saturday. I expected this to be poor. Tale of a cartoon princess who falls into real-life New York. But it was surprisingly sweet. I felt suitably aghast when she almost didn't get her man. And I even managed to convince myself I'd achieved something useful from a day job point of view as one of the scenes was half like something we're proposing in a TV script just now. Visual stimulus - as the advertising wankers would say.

Then I went to see Les Chansons D'Amour on Sunday night. I expected this to be lovely. French, quirky, misfit charming. And it was terrible. Genuinely awful. I would have left after approx 20 minutes but I was fourth into our row. It was screen 3 in the Filmhouse and I was the side furthest from the door. And had no idea of whether half of my 'party' of cinema goers were delighted or appalled by it. So sat through it squiriming as each new song brought fresh horrors.

The only satisfying thing about the whole experience was that each of the aforementioned 'party' were equally appalled. I should have known better as I was disappointed by Dans Paris and horrified by Ma Mere, both by the same guy. Perhaps next time I shall learn the lesson. If I don't, I shall certainly be relearning it alone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Getting there with my pre-Christmas to do list. It's gradually shortening I think.

I'm cast for my one act which is quite exciting. Nobody (else) has turned down the unrivalled opportunity.

I have plumped for a cast of eight which is probably a dumb thing to do when I could have had a nice easy threesome. I've justified it to myself by saying it'll be easier for the audience to stay interested. If it's not a hideous guddle of ill-remembered lines and stage directions, that is.

And now I'm carving up the play into eight segments, distributing lines liberally as the son distributed his talents.

When I've done that, I suspect I'll feel a bit more Christmassy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I saw a charming film at the weekend. "Bikur Ha-Tizmoret" or "The Band's Visit" for those not versed in (I suspect though can't be sure - though can be sure that Someone will correct me) Arabic.

An Egyptian band find themselves stranded in an Israeli town on their way to perform at a cultural festival. As is often the way with these films, nothing much happens. To my mother's consternation, there isn't even much of the band's music on offer. But what little does happen has unexpected and poignant consequences. It possibly isn't a film for the unsentimental but luckily I have soppy sentiment aplenty so I was quite happy.

In stark contrast to this, I caught "The Golden Compass" on Sunday. The first in the Philip Pullman trilogy. The girl is cute, Nicole Kidman is marvellous and I almost wept for the polar bear. But it was schmaltzy rather than touching. Less stars to my mind though Mr Guardian disagrees.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another tremendously exciting thing to happen last night for my simple star-struck mind was a guest appearance, mid-workshop session, from Dominic Hill, new artistic director of the Traverse.

He popped his head out of the wings (again we were meeting on the Trav One stage - a delight in itself) and said that he'd just wanted to say hello as he thought that we were surely the future of Scottish theatre.

He spoke engagingly about how he wanted the Trav to become much more open and accessible and groups like ours would be the mainstay of their new work moving forward. Clearly this was largely bollocks spoken to please us.

And if only he's listened to any of our shabby pieces, he'd have known this was far from the truth. But I was impressed that he'd bothered to look in at all. A very nice man.

I tried to smile winningly at him so he would remember to pluck me from obscurity. Unfortunately I think the stage lights were beaming from right behind me directly into his eyes. That'll be why he hasn't phoned me yet.
Last of my Traverse writer's workshops last night. And I was overwhelmed with the usual 'almost ending' nostalgia. I'm a hopeless romantic.

I discovered to my horror that Zinnie Harris, she of "Further than the Furthest Thing" who has been leading our workshops, is only 2 years older than me and alongside writing god knows how many plays, various episodes of Spooks, directing for various companies including the RSC and marrying a composer, has found time to have 2 children. I felt inadequate.

But consolation came in the form of a conversation about the crazy Doll's House with the dwarves that featured in this year's International Festival. Zinnie thought it was wonderful - but only because the second act had redeemed it. I confessed that I had snuck out at the interval. She said "oh then you're just like John Tiffany. He hated it and left at the interval too." My heart sang.