Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh, and the other thing to say while I am here is that it seems that the quantity of swearing in our one act has caused the usual - and I should have come to expect this by now - furore. Should we take action to address it before the next round, is the million dollar question??
In another of these odd meetings of worlds, it seems that Sean and JT were in attendance at the Edinburgh Twestival which I, for lengthy and largely dull but honourable reasons, did not attend. They were being technical - until the power cut struck. I am now sorrier than ever that I missed it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

There's nothing like a two show frenzy to keep you on your toes.

I got all my info through from the Quaker Meeting House at the weekend and I need to submit info for their programme by 30 March. So if I'm being really organised, I'll have chosen my version and chosen my cast by then so that I can be clever and give them photos of the right people rather than these bland could be more or less anything photos so beloved of less well organised Fringe entries.

As a consequence, I have approximately 6 versions of the script on the go at the moment. No panic.

In amidst that, well it looks like I've got my favourite JGH and Andy team on board for the next round in Killin. Which is a very big yay. But I really need to think about something like a rehearsal schedule for this little play. Maybe I'll try even turning up to a few of them myself. And so it goes.

Poor Cloud Nine has hardly had a look in. A fine general manager I am.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We came second. So we're through. Yay! As DG would say.

It's been a very exciting festival. Friday saw Holy Cow with a man who lost his reflection, one of the Leitheatre groups with something about a journey to Innesfree and us. Holy Cow were colourful and featured an adorable girl who is apparently a civil engineer in real life. Leitheatre did a dreary tale about a woman who couldn’t decide whether she should go into sheltered accommodation and debated the question with her younger and her middle aged selves. It looked very lovely and was nicely acted. I did not like the play but then it didn’t feature nearly enough misery for my liking.

Ours went off pretty hitch free. Inevitably there were a handful of “wouldn’t have done it quite like that” moments but that seems to be the way with this competition. The cruelty of only getting to do it once. And the lighting at the end was a shabby mess but this was entirely my fault as I was too busy staring at the stage and fiddling with my sound cue to give poor JGH The Look to cue the thing. Lesson learnt there. We were much more skimpily setted, much more bleak and much more sweary (as Susan would say) than both of the other entries. And than the three plays on the following night for that matter.

Adjudication on Friday night was fairly kind. He was complimentary about the actors, didn't seem at all perturbed by the content and gave us a long chat about how you should never put a table centre stage and square-on but somehow we had got away with it. But then he was fairly kind to all of Friday's entrants so this didn't mean anything much.

Saturday saw the Mercators with a tragic little piece about a pair of old (physically and long-standingly) friends who were about to get stuffed into inappropriate care homes. Susan was as charming as she always is. I love seeing her on stage.

Then we had another Leitheatre offering. This one, an extraordinary piece called After the Dream which told the tale of what happened to Bottom ten years after the midsummer's night. It was a terrible play that I could hardly understand but pleasantly enough presented from some lively and vivacious young people. And of course the play itself doesn't really matter.

And then we had the offering of my arch rival: Act 3 of The Killing of Sister George which I do not know at all but sounded like promising fare. This told the tale of an ageing soapstar who was being killed off – and this killing off was mirrored in her personal life as her long-standing relationship with a girl half her age crumbled around her ears. A cracking story and I’d like to read the whole and I awaited this final show with eager anticipation as I fully expected it to be astonishing. Disappointingly, it wasn’t quite. The actors were all pretty to very good but lacked chemistry in their relationships with each other. It was a great pity.

The adjudicator was much nippier about Saturday night’s shows than he’d been on the Friday. Perhaps because he was missing his daughter’s 18th. He grumbled his way through the feedback, the curtains swept shut and then the moment of shame where the hopefuls trudged back stage to stand awaiting our moment in the limelight at the prize giving. I plastered on my fake grin and hoped.

And it turned out alright. I don’t know if I quite agreed with the quantity of cups that Leitheatre got for Innesfree but that’s probably just being mean spirited. The "yes I thought so too" director - who I'd been very carefully pleasant to in the wings beforehand - somehow melted away the moment the curtains swept shut on the afterglow. And we’re going to Killin. I’ve always wanted to go to Killin. Apparently their catering is marvellous.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Well well well. We had the tech last night. The usual frantic dash through making sure everything worked properly, making sure it all looked pretty, admiring JGH's workmanship and trying to run the play. All in an hour. In fact, in our case, one minute under.

I also vitally (at last - hurrah!) returned the trophy, engraved, faithfully collected the day before. We even carried 9 boxes of paper into some storeroom or other in the hopes of accumlating more points but I don't know if this will count in our favour.

JGH has done an exceptionally fine job. Moody and steely and a bit of a light streaming through a window effect and a little flourescenty tubey thing to cement (to my mind anyway) the idea that this indeed is a prison cell. For obviously, prisons and my father's kitchen are the only places that such light fixtures exist.

Given that we got our table and chairs from St Serfs, the only other contribution that I have made to the presentation of the play is arranging for Russell to collect the filing cabinet of Iain Kerr's neighbour and then requesting its delivery at a time complementary to the tech slot.

It's a fairly lazy production from a technical point of view. I start the CD player thrice. JGH turns the lights on at the start and more or less doesn't touch them til he turns them off at the end. The scenery takes perhaps 90 seconds to arrange. It's a very portable production...

So now I'm in that happy full of anticipation state where I don't have any lines to worry about. I need only fret about whether or not the audience will take offence at the foul tongued text and walk out. But I think my cast would quite like that. Anyway, we shall see.

Good luck everybody. I think they'll be brilliant.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

There are a few shameful but colourful moments in my professional career that I would rather forget. Years ago, I dressed up as a client's mascot (big foamy suit that hid my distinguishing features entirely, you know the sort of thing) and paraded around the grounds at their "family fun" day. Fewer years ago, I dressed as Miss Santa and distributed presents to a slavering crowd at a Christmas party (why, why, why...).

But yesterday must surely join these highlights as perhaps the bizarrest of all clash of my work and my personal life as I had the (very dubious) pleasure of writing and 'directing' a short film featuring a collection of my colleagues for a particular client project. Intended to be a piece of entertainment, I should add. It's all shrouded in secrecy for now but I shall unburden myself of my secrets when it doesn't matter anymore. But ulp. It was weird. And we shall leave it at that.

My dream life continues to deteriorate steadily. In retaliation or relief, I'm not sure which. Last night, I dreamt that I rediscovered in the kitchen at work my favourite mug. I dubbed it 'the precious' as a kind of feeble ongoing joke whenever it used to live amongst us which must be going back about 3 years now. But it went missing. Understandable as its delicate egg-shell blue porcelain interior was very striking and I can see why others would covet it. I had not realised however, that I still so deeply felt its loss.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Here is a spectaculur example of what I do NOT want at the end of the play.

My poor long neglected blog. Sadly starved of posts and worse still, emaciating (is that a verb? I bet not) at the hands of Twitter which only calls for 140 characters at a time. I apologise to you, my blog, and will try to do better. I haven't even written anything about a play which I saw nigh on two weeks ago. So there we should start.

In the meantime, here I am on a snowy (outside the train) National Express down to London. The sky is blue, the clouds are pinky, the land is pastoral and snow coated. It's very very pretty.

It was The Tailor of Inverness what I saw. It featured in last year's Festival. But the time was incompatiable with my journalistic orgy of theatre going so the Tailor was neglected although he attracted rave reviews. So when I saw him making an appearance at the Brunton for one night only, I negotiated with mother who fancied instead Mary Stuart at the Traverse and so we went.

And I'm glad I did. It was a charming little play, produced if my sievey memory serves me correctly, by a company called Dogstar. It featured one actor (faithful monologue, mainstay of these cash-strapped festival times) and to be fair to them, a violinist who punctuated the man's dialogue with vivid sawing on his instrument. The actor told the lovely story of growing up in very rural Poland and decanting in his childhood to Inverness where he eventually became a tailor.

I missed the middle chunk of his life as it was dark and cosy in the Brunton and I'd unwisely Friday night defiantly necked a bottle of Budvar before I went in so it seemed rude not to take just a little short nap.

And so the end of his life would probably have been a lot more poignant if only I'd understood the mid. But nonetheless, it was beautifully directed. He did a nice move with a clothes rail which he span in a circle and leapt through to recreate his time on a giant long distance train journey. Which I know sounds a bit ridiculous (I can just imagine trying to persuade some poor long-suffering at my flights of fancy actor to swing and leap - "it'll look good, honest...") but was surprisingly effective. I must remember it.

And they did some nice stuff with projections, recreating his father's imagined journeys around Europe. Because yes, I'm remembering a bit more now and it was all about the son's attempt to piece together the life of his father whom he never understood and now it was too late and he couldn't ask the questions (as his father was dead) but was left only with the fragments of Army conscription and concentration camps and circuitous journeys and a possible long lost sibling of which he now sought to make sense.

Anyway it was very good. And I'm glad I saw at least more of it than I did in the Festival.

Last weekend I was in Manchester with birthday girl Naomi and her startingly alike sister. We frequented various bars and restaurants and it was very lazy and pleasant. And I discovered Singstar which is a welcome addition to the thwarted West End musical star in me. Though you wouldn't have known it as I misguidedly tried to recreate some Indie classic at 3am.

Dashed back for a rehearsal and I made them prank around doing exaggerated versions of their character traits to see if this was educational and character portrayal enhancing. I don't think they thought so but I bet when I see their next performances, they will be all the richer.

And then headlong into the maelstrom of a pitch and an awards deadline and a looming presentation and all sorts of curveball last minute projects which were not meant to happen nearly so soon and this is why poor blog has suffered.

I was anticipating a quieter March but given that I now have 4 research projects looming, all to happen more or less simultaneously, I may be sadly disappointed in that respect.

The bigger concern however is that I haven't done anything about my SFX for my one act which is now, hmmm, let me think, a week today. Time I think to pay a little attention to that before the boys take, otherwise mute, to the stage.

And oh my goodness I need to retrieve the trophy which I took to be engraved two weeks past and still have not been alerted of its readiness. I hope it has not rolled outside the shop door in a moment of wild carelessness and been squashed under the wheels of a passing steam roller. Imagine how petulant that would make me look.

Friday, February 06, 2009

For the past six weeks, I've been dreaming fretfully about work. Last night, I dreamt that I bought a beautiful red bag. In the sales. I'm sure that means something very deep.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Man At The Bus Stop was reading the BBC History magazine this morning. I must remember to share my vast historical knowledge with him some delayed bus time.

We read "Antigone" last night at the first Wednesday of the month meeting. It was a 1947 translation to be fair. Lots and lots of frowns around the room. Oh well. Too late now.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wonderful news which is I think that The Man At The Bus Stop might be married. I've always seen him as a tragic solitary figure who doesn't quite look after himself properly. But (perpetuating this image) I noticed to my sorrow on this coldest of mornings that he wasn't wearing gloves. To the point where I almost spoke reprovingly to him. But then with that lunatic girl's hawkeye, I spied the telltale left handed fourth fingered ring. Oh I do hope he is. Not that this is necessarily a guarantee of happiness in his life but it makes him seem a little less plaintive.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Off to record the scream sound effects tonight. I hope it will result in a visit from men in uniform. Of the navy blue rather than the white jacketed variety, you understand.