Saturday, October 31, 2009

Just remembered the x3 boxes of scripts - every play EGTG has ever done - nestling in my spare room. Maybe salvation lies therein.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things,
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow,
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced, fold, fallow and plough,
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange,
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim.
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I horribly overslept this morning. I say horribly. But it could have been worse. I woke up at 7:50am, having woken at 13 minutes to 7 and thought I'll just nap til my alarm goes off. Woke again, registered that the street outside sounded rather more lively than it ought to be at 7am, squinted at the alarm. And waaghh. Leapt up.

I blame the radio clock alarm thing that Russell palmed off on me when his parents no longer wanted it. I was never such a fan of the perky little LCD displays but grew fonder of them in Australia where I didn't want to risk being phoned in the dead of night on my mobile, my usual alarm source. And there's nothing quite like waking up to Singaporean radio. So I became a convert. Let me down this morning though. Bad.

Still, phew, thank the lord above, I still made it into work for 9am. Bless my no maintenance getting ready in the morning routine.

It's been a busy little week so far. I saw Insane in the Brain with the failed alarm clock giver on Monday night. It billed itself as a street dance version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and it kind of was. It was brilliantly staged. They did some very smart moves fastened into a kind of baby bungee. Beautifully lit. And some really great dancing. And a lovely lively (and she sounds as old as the hills) soundtrack. Miss Martini was particularly adorable. I resolved again for the duration to go back to some kind of dance class.

Raced last night, hot off a train from Manchester, to the SCDA library. I love dear Douglas more each time I see him. Particularly after a mild flutter of panic when I stepped up the steps to be greeted with a closed door. But it's winter season and Douglas was feeling the chill and had only drawn the door shut to keep the heating in. So I handed back Cockroach (no lookalike kids in our group), Decky Does A Bronco (what a great script but same no kids. And certainly no swings!), Ring Around the Moon (oh, far too fanciful) and a terrible trivial thing called What The Night Is For about two one-time lovers, now married to others, who re-united for one night only. Still loved each other. She flirted with him. He told her it was over and done with. Then U-turned and actually he wanted her back. She told him it was too late. Back and forth they went in this way, interspersed with a little casual sex. And then suddenly, for a dose of gravitas, she's got some kind of mental health condition, has an 'episode' but he still loves her. And then it's the end. Don't think I'll be doing that one either.

Snatched up something that looked half promising. Unbroken by Alexandra Wood. Performed first by the Gate earlier this year. And it's a nice enough little story. Infrequent concert goer chats up rock star. They have sex. Rockstar visits ex and tells her he wrote his most famous song about her. She says my husband's due home. They have sex. Later, husband returns. He's infertile. She wants children. They have sex. Barren husband goes to a speed dating event. Swaps numbers with a lonely girl. Lonely girl chats up her boss. They have sex. Her boss goes home to infrequent concert goer and tells her he doesn't love her anymore. No sex. The end.

It's based on Schnitzler's La Ronde. Not that I know what or who this is. (Cue Siobhan: gasp!) But a good name. I'd like to be called Schnitzler. Anyway, it's very sweet but I can't quite imagine directing a play with such endless sex in it. Douglas would not approve.

So back again to the drawing board. Did I ever leave it?

Rush off to prompt for Wit (which will incidentally be brilliant). And DG says threateningly that I need to write a piece about what I'm doing for next year's festival in a week's time for the Wit programme. And again I say waagghh. I think I might be writing a piece of plump fudge for the time being, thereby ruining the otherwise perfect 2010 programme. I feel remorseful. But better that than boxed into a corner with a play packed with sex. That would never do.

Maybe I'll just have to do Festen.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And then a further x3 cultural events this weekend, of varying degrees of culturedness.

Thirst - although I prefer its Korean title, bakjwi - is a vampire film. Though a vampire movie with all sorts of eccentric little twists. Some charming. Others simply gruesome. It isn’t a movie for those that struggle with copious blood-letting. And it isn’t quite so adorable as earlier this year’s Let The Right One In. But its storyline is as twisty and surprising as you’d expect from the man who made I’m A Cyborg But That’s OK. There’s some beautiful artful flying. Many beautiful artful moments in fact. Just lots of blood alongside it.

Then a dreadful thing called Macpherson’s Rant. Well, let’s be reasonable. It wasn’t entirely dreadful. It was just so in no way ever my cup of tea that I came (fairly quickly) to consider it dreadful. The production was perfectly competent. The set – a fine substantial revolve – made me want to weep for the money that had been flung at it. The lighting was pretty impressive. Lots of gobos. A follow spot. Money money money. There was some nice singing. Some raggedy dancing. First-time director Gaby did do incredibly well as she had a lot of people milling about the stage.

But the basic problem was that I had no interest in whether or not ranting Macpherson managed to track down poor but honourable Bess before she married the wicked, lustful and cruel Laird (Ian A – who wasn’t on stage nearly often enough for my liking). He didn’t manage it, more’s the pity, as then the show might have been shorter. But instead all sorts of marching and travelling and fighting ensued. And then I decided I was bored to the extent that I slept as the great denouement began to unravel in front of my shutting eyes meaning that though the Ranter unluckily got hung at the end, I’m not entirely sure why.

Far more entertaining was The September Issue. A documentary about the compiling of the plump-as-a-phone-box September issue of Vogue, masterminded by the inscrutable Anna Wintour. The film opens with a marvellous clip of Ms Wintour explaining that anyone who ridicules fashion is simply bitter as they feel excluded from it. That must be me then. This was wonderfully frivolous stuff. One block colour shoot looks much like another to me. But then I’m neither inscrutable or Anna Wintour. So what do I know?!
I saw x3 cultural events in Australia.

That’s not strictly true as that count only accounts for theatrical events.

In actual fact, I watched many films on my various flights to and fro:

(sure I’ve seen it before)
Love ‘N Dancing
(rubbish but made me want to take up swing dancing again)
A Bunch of Amateurs
(quite rubbish but mildly entertaining when you do what we do)
The Simpsons (x1 episode)
Some of Confessions of a Shopaholic (as bad as I’d expected)
Are You There? (Completely adorable. Michael Caine and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory boy – watch it if ever you can)
Revolutionary Road (over-rated)
17 Again (nonsense)
Several episodes of Mad Men (and yes, it’s just like that. We just don’t dress as well)
He’s Just Not That Into You (really??)

I listened to a good portion of Bach’s cello concerto.

And then we had the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art in which I loved this exhibit by a fellow called Tom Moore in particular:

(It was a huge giant room full of stuff, by the way. Not just this slim collection of items.)

And the Singapore Art Museum. Also no slouch on the contemporary art front.

(I’ve just voted incidentally for Felicia Low in the President’s Young Talents competition)

But my inevitable favourite was The Theatre Stuff.

Streetcar Named Desire was a minor miracle. Gail somehow managed to lay her hands on some returns and bless her for her efforts. It was a tremendous production. Neatly staged, beautifully directed, great cast, a beautiful retelling of a magic story. Cate can clearly act very respectably in real life. My only criticisms of the production were so tiny as to be incidental. Maybe Stanley shouldn’t have been quite so hot. Cate clearly was not quite as much of a faded beauty as Blanche really should be. But she was desperate enough to compensate. And they made the steps between the two levels of apartments out of work rather than cast iron so we had no satisfying hollow thunk as they dashed between the two. But this is pedantry. It was marvellous stuff.

I almost didn’t see my Melbourne Fringe Show as I pitched up entirely speculatively to my chosen performance. Arbitrarily chosen as it sounded fractionally more polished than the other choices in the brochure. (So few - relatively – choices. It demonstrated neatly quite how spoilt we are in Edinburgh.) But mournfully moping on a bench outside the sold out Arts Centre and plotting what I might see (what venue I might reasonably be able to find) instead, a woman came darting out of the box office with two precious spare tickets did anyone want them?

The subject matter of the play was so miserable that it might not have been the end of the world if I missed it. Though the title And No More Shall We Part might have been something of a giveaway. It was a cracking script by a chap called Tom Hollway. Lovely dialogue. And beautifully acted by apparently two of Melbourne’s finest actors, Denis Moore and Margaret Mills. It told the mournful tale of a woman diagnosed with a mortal disease who decides to kill herself, to the disappointment of her husband, but she ploughs on anyway. He’s sad. She’s sad. She dies. But unfortunately it takes one and a half hours before she takes her final breath and it’s clear where the play is headed approx thirty minutes in. I’m wondering whether I might source the script, trim it down to the full of mournful but not yet realised first forty or so minutes and make it a one act. It’d need two exceptional sixty-something actors. Hmm, not sure I know any of them…

And then the night afore I left the land altogether, I luckily waited for the rather spectacular denouement of Transe Express’ Mischievous Bells. My Melbourne companion, Anne, was not so patient and missed it. But it was a chilly chilly night.
My photos do it precisely no justice but luckily, this lass did a rather better job of it.

A fitting end to my trip to t'other side of the world.
Aural fulfilment at last. The band who did the music for the Lyceum's Beggar's Opera have uploaded the track I've been obsessing about for the past five weeks onto their myspace page. You may enjoy it for yourself here. It's self-effacingly titled "We are the scum". You may also enjoy "Here's to us".

But then you may not enjoy any of them. Ross, remember, was unimpressed. Mother sat with her fingers in her ears. And I just received a phone call from dear Ian Aldred who called critically (but mellifluously) "what on earth is that dreadful noise in the background? What ever will your neighbours think?". So maybe it's just me.

They're at the Tramway (in the aforementioned show) from Wednesday so you can judge them in the flesh for yourselves.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've just been on a presentation skills course. Three days of it. As I'm sure is usual with these things, I never knew I had so many bad habits.

Day one and I delivered my preprepared speech ("How to market a Greek Tragedy") apparently at 165 words a minute. One of the tutors told me pleasantly that this was verging on despotic.

Day two and I managed to apparently frighten the lead lady who ran the course in my trial interview. And murmured an encouraging "mhmmm" over 28 times til one of the watchers lost count. Better yet.

Day three and I'm smacking my lips in the rehearsal for The Final Presentation like a maniac. Although this appears to at least slow me down a little bit. Thank the heavens for small lip smacking mercies.

So tonight after a busy bitty (quick) day back in the office, I thought I could and go and see The Dark Things at the Traverse. But Ross wasn't very impressed so I wasn't very tempted.

I could have tried again to watch Confessions of a Justified Sinner which seems to be getting moderately favourable reviews from those that stayed awake. Either that or they're lying.

I could have come home and read a self-improving book.

Instead, I snuck into Cineworld and a screen with a few scattered teenage girls and long-suffering mothers and watched Fame. And crept out afterwards as furtively as a paedophile who's just been to see Peter Pan.

Remember my name.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm on the hunt now. Reading and reading prospective material for next year's Festival. I've re-read Pugilist Specialist to check I do actually still like it (I do).

And I've just finished Cockroach by Sam Holcroft. I should like to say that Brian is half right. I do quite love it. It's a great script. Though I'm not certain that I quite understood it.

But the practicalities of finding five young people who look like they are approx 15 or 16 I reckon, one of whom is black and two of whom are willing to expose - shall we say - sensitive personal areas is daunting to my unimaginative mind.

I shall save it for the day that the group receives a sudden influx of the exhibitionist young.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I've been stubbornly avoiding jet lag since I first set sail from this land three weeks ago. But it finally took its toll last night. Unfortunately at just the hour that I had an appointment at the Lyceum with Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

I saw perhaps the first five minutes of it when the modern day policeman hilariously fell into the open grave. But my eyes began to shut as soon as the first actor in period costume stepped onto the stage and started declaiming. I awoke just before the interval, managed to take in a strawberry ice-cream, only for my lids to become heavy again when act two resumed. I managed to catch 8 to 10 minutes of that act but by then, as I neither knew nor particularly cared about what had been going on in the intervening time, I thought I may as well rest again.

I woke up for the curtain call and discovered, much to my surprise, that the main protagonist - the man who apparently made some sort of pact with the devil - looked remarkably like his devilish counterpart. But that aside, I can make little justified comment on this particular Lyceum / Mark Thomas offering. Although they did appear to make fine use of a revolve.

I feel a bit guilty as I've been entering into perky twebate (might I say that??!) with the Lyceum about my impending visit to the show. I feel I can hardly now tweet (twit??) the terrible truth.

Having said this, I simply went to see this show because Mother presented me with a ticket. Offered it to both Ross and I in fact and he benevolently sacrificed the pleasure for me. So on the grounds that I wouldn't have gone to see it in the normal run of things and as the fabulously priced preview ticket cost me all of £5, I don't feel I've sacrificed too much to my cat nap.

On the plus side, the nap fortified to drink on into the small hours. So it was possibly £5 well spent.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Clearly in very vulnerable post-holiday 'the world is wonderful' land at the moment as I - Danger Will Robinson - almost spoke to The Man At The Bus Stop today. Risky business.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My quote of the holiday was undoubtedly a text from my sister which said something along the lines of:

"Enjoying reading your twits."

Twits. I thought that was about the size of it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And I was just getting used to the fact that the @ symbol is above the 2 rather than above the , on keyboards on the underside of the world.

Still, all good things must come to an end. Seemingly.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A sinister incident on the tram on my way home this evening. I was sitting gazing vacantly ahead as is my wont (until I draw close to my destination at which point I start darting panicy looks about me to try and work out where I am). I was aware suddenly of a man in a suit and a dark smart coat standing at my shoulder. He had murmured something in a soft sinister voice but I assumed not to me as he was standing directly behind my shoulder. But then he stepped forward slightly and repeated encouragingly "may I see your ticket?" And I realised that indeed he was speaking to me. He gave me a sad sheepish smile as if acknowledging that his bahaviour would have been more at home in a ponderous Korean thriller than a public transport system. I showed him my ticket, absurdly proud that it was valid. And he moved on to the next vulnerable traveller. And so the incident passed. Sinister stuff.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A final fling with Port Douglas today and then south to Melbourne.

Having been immensely careful for the past ten days - alarming and disconcerting real Australians with a factor 50 sun cream that apparenntly doesn't exist out here - it seems I discounted the magnifying effect of sun rays on sea water. My bikini is now etched in pink on my back. Stupid stupid girl.

So it's going to be a comfortable drive up the coast to the Mossman Gorge and then an even more comfortable six to eight hours on planes this evening.

On the plus side, Melbourne looks cold and bitter so I have plenty recovery time ahead.