Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At last, only a week later than I meant to, I more or less know my lines. Phsew.

And not a minute too soon as we have only 24 days til showtime. Ulp.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Prophet. (Un prophéte.) Now there's a classy film.

This is a film like all films should be. Great story. Acting where you forget they're acting (or is it only me that does that?). Great direction, courtesy of Jacques Audillard (Beat That My Heart Skipped among others). Lovely cinematography. Very French. As in you find out almost nothing about what anyone's actually thinking. But it was all the better for it.

It may not be 3D. But it was proper cinema in my humble opinion. Fine félicatations to all concerned.
Weeks on, I'm still finding party detritus. I just found a crisp in one of my pot plants. Whether this is a sign of a good party or a sign of great slatternliness on the part of the hostess is up for debate.

Incidentally, the mystery of the ruined chair thickens. Last night. Siobhan said "don't worry, I'm not going to break another chair" or something along these lines. And then immediately retracted the statement, saying it was just a terrible mistake. Terrible mistake or terrible confession? Maybe we'll never know.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

So many plans for today and so little achieved. Still, I have skinned and boned my first ever arbroath smokies (weird withered looking fish) and cooked (or almost cooked) a rather fine meal. Though I think the turnip's a bit soggy. Borrowing from my esteemed grandmother, begging its pardon in advance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Poor Brian. Directing an amateur play is like trying to carve Michelangelo's David from a big lump of cheese with blunt knives.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My old college is holding its first ever event for ex-students in Scotland.

A game tasting at a deer farm.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two films over the course of the weekend which couldn't have been less like each other.

It's Complicated. (Yes, yes, I know but I turned up speculatively and thought I'd have a greater choice than I did...)

And The Road.

The Road is relentlessly bleak. It features the wild-haired one, Viggo Mortensen, after all: what would you expect? It's mostly grey (and a kind of sludgy brown) with occasional flashes of colour to remind you of the wondrous life now lost. Superb performance from the boy. And I suppose from Viggo but I found the story (lack of it?) so unbearable that I couldn't quite take the grown man seriously. And I suppose a grudging respect for the cinematographer as it was all so relentlessly lightless and bleak. A reviewer in Tatler (I know, I know, but I was in the hairdressers having my fringe sheared) said the only good thing about the film was that she never had to see it again. Whilst I can see the artistic merit in the endeavour, I'm inclined to agree.

It's Complicated on the other hand, I expected to be dreadful. I sloped shamefacedly, lately, into the cinema, solo popcorn in hand as crowds of teenagers lounged about most of the seats, guzzling and gorging their way through over-priced under-nutritious cinema food. It's a laboured script that seemed to end twice over but reared its dying head for another couple of lolloping twists. Alec Baldwin is inoffensively charming in a fat sort of way. Steve Martin is indeed, as one reviewer suggested, hopelessly miscast. I couldn't quite tell you why but see it and you'll agree. But Meryl Streep is just adorable. Looking incroyable as ever. Putting such heart and sincerity into this trite little part that you couldn't help but want it all to turn out for her.

Don't go and see it if you have no patience for silly saccharine but it's a nice bit of a sunny froth if you're after chick-flicky nonsense.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend drinking rules

Friday: as much as you like. It is, after all, Friday and therefore, you deserve it. But early to bed as Saturday's body balance (now featuring the flailing windmill warm-up) starts at 10:15am.

Saturday: as much as you like within reason, i.e. no more than two bottles of wine. As Saturday is a day of rest, therefore the alcohol is less richly deserved. And we don't want to ruin Sunday.

Sunday: one bottle only. Excess is wrong on a Sunday (though tempting if you start too early). And you mustn't ruin Monday, a bad enough day as it is without a heavy-headed melancholic start. But a simple (small) bottle just takes the edge off the impending start of the week. It's practically medicinal.

(Please note Sunday's bottle MUST be shared between two.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I dreamt last night that the world was coming to an end and JGH and I were the only ones that saw sense and ran away, rejecting the "small routine procedure" that was being foisted upon mankind to make them / us more docile. As we ran, I was carrying several small items that were cumbersome rather than heavy and I first thought "I wonder if I might ask JGH to carry some of these" but then I didn't want to inconvenience him so I didn't. Then I thought "I hope Andy's still sitting on the sofa where we left him earlier as he might be able to build something to save us". Then I woke up.

I think Viggo Mortensen was miscast.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The weekend just gone I sallied forth (sullied forth?) to the big bright lights of London, bravely braving the snow in the name of my artistic and cultural education.

Saturday afternoon, I saw The Misanthrope. My gentle readers will well know that this is a play by Moliere. One which I do not know though I felt like I should. Though the furthering of my education was aided and abetted by the coincidental fact that the play featured a young chap called Damian Lewis in the title role. It also happened to boast Kiera Knightly in a supporting role. This played perhaps a shred of a part in my decision making. Tara Fitzgerald played no part in my decision making. Thea Sturrock, director, she who so marvellously did Equus a couple of years back, played a significant role. So there we go. My justification.

It hadn't been particularly well-reviewed. Not that I'd really studied any reviews. There just didn't seem to be any great excitement beyond the launch of this stellar-casted classic. So I approached the Comedy Theatre with ambivalence. And left it again a couple of hours later with the same ambiv.

It's an interesting, thought-provoking play. A message that Martin Crimp's perky translation makes absolutely relevant to today. The set was very clever. A lovely ambivalence about whether we were in a period drawing room or a modern-day boutique hotel suite. Nice sound. Baroque violins veering into hardcore house between scenes. Lovely lighting though you felt they were trying to make their presence felt with their artful changes of mood rather than really adding anything to the play. And beautifully directed. I want to be Thea S. If you're reading this and want to do a job swap....

But I think my sad conclusion - and I have been puzzling on this for the past week - is that the acting didn't quite cut it. Kiera's (American) accent was pretty solid, not that I'm any great judge, but I never quite forgot that she was she. Damian's best friend was sound enough but fairly unremarkable. The cameos were caricatures which is quite likely how it was intended. Effective caricatures to be sure. Damian was pretty good. Got all his lines out. Seemed thoroughly mean-spirited. But I didn't really dislike him enough by the end was I think the problem. Neither did I admire him enough. I suppose you're meant to want to damn them all to their self-created hell when it's done. But I was mostly just glad (gorgeous set aside) that it was done. Tara was a notable exception. She was delightful.

Maybe it was all the director's fault. But because I love Thea, I won't countenance this. I blame instead the producers who packed the theatre with these b list celebrities and ran off with the profits. Daniel Radcliffe and the heavy heavy man in Equus could, at least, very creditably, act for the stage. So, in essence, interesting. Glad I've seen it. But educational rather than earth-shattering.

Swan Lake on the other hand. Matthew Bourne. My childhood mecca, Sadler's Wells. What wasn't going to be good about this? And oh my. It was amazing. 'Nuff said.

(Though I don't want to be him, incidentally, Matthew Bourne I mean, because I can't dance. So it wouldn't really be practical.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Well I had grand plans of doing nothing (and catching up with my blog duties) tonight but yet again, the lure of wasting time on the internet proved too much for me.

But perhaps flitting about on the internet is actually the twenty-first century way of doing nothing.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Four days at work.

Three microwave meals.

Two rehearsals.

And one festival show announced.

Happy new year all.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

All work and no play makes Claire full up with microwave meals. Not that I'm complaining for what better way to spend the first real week of Jan?

So the cat at last lumbered out of the proverbial sacking last night. We announced - I announced - with a deplorable lack of excitement actually - our forthcoming festival show which is to be.... The Tempest.

The venue is still under wraps.

Which is part of the reason why I was so blog quiet twixt Christmas and New Year as I was picking through and through the script trying to figure how best to adapt it to realise my twisted (derivative, according to mother) vision.

Last night's first Wed of the month meeting saw us read my twisted vision. Which was most useful. As it ran at about the time length that I was hoping for. It saw us welcoming 3 possible newbies to the group which is always nice. It gave me the pleasure of sitting next to a certain person who murmured the words of his favourite passages under his breath in an insistent whisper creating an odd stereo sound effect. And I was able to realise that at one careless moment, the same character speaks twice in a row. On account of having sliced a couple of people out of my version. Ruthless but necessary.

So we are all set. Ish. Auditions in April. Do come.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

So, let the rehearsals commence for 2010. I think we snuck in before The Proposal by some considerable days. Not that it's a competition....

But poor my friend Mr Neill (MFMN). In case you somehow haven't heard, we're fairly snow burdened up here just now. The snow was in fact lashing my face last night as I left work to head to faithful rehearsal premises on t'other side of town.

The cast of Polished By Love is 8. The full cast was called last night. 3 attended. Now to be fair, we had a whole plethora of excuses:

1. a trip home (planned neatly it appears to the ignorant onlooker to miss the first 3 rehearsals. Why not go home over Christmas like a normal person?)
2. a rehearsal for a rival (rubbish) play
3. a bout of flu
4. an American holiday (also technically a trip home to be fair to this one)
5. a cracked open head

As it happened, none was directly snow related. Aside possibly from the fifth which is also the one which must cause us most concern as the cracked head belongs to my young (too young) love. Who was incommunicado yesterday, whether due to apathy, enforced inaction or unconsciousness. The incident took place on the ice at some point the day before. So we must will his speedy recovery. As to the others, pull yourselves together, I say. Mr Neill needs you.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

An entirely random observation... but is French not the loveliest most delicate kind language? For example:

Pour plus de détails, prière de suivre le lien...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Snapshots from New Year's Eve:

1. Bountiful boa action.

2. Kilts in the kitchen. Corsets in the living room.

3. Though I ran out of time to so do, all the balloons got blown up, thanks!

4. I don't remember anyone actually enjoying my cupcakes but there were less than 38 by the party's end.

5. Ouzo (in the absence of arak and thanks to my lovely Antigone cast) at midnight. It was surprisingly nice. Though funny how many half finished cups I just scooped up.

6. Inflicting my New Year mix 'tape' on everyone just after midnight. But hey, you were all dancin'.

7. Someone enjoying the obligatory long rest in the toilet at the maximumly busy hour of approx 3am.

8. Untied bow ties after midnight.

9. 3 bottles of Coke consumed to my shame. No-one brought IRN-BRU.

10. Naps in the spare room. Naps in the bedroom. Long naps on the living room sofa.

11. A little love under the mistletoe. You know who you are.

12. Streams of people staggering off into the night without a hope of getting a taxi.

13. Falling asleep on the sofa towards 5am and dearly beloved Ross herding everyone out the door to get home I don't know somehow.

14. Mugs of red wine scattered about the morning after. I left them all and went out.

Party debris

1. One impressively shattered chair

2. One shattered wine glass

3. 36 red feathers of varying shades

4. 40 empty bottles (inc. one lemon vodka and one ouzo)

5. A quantity of cupcakes naked of their tasty m&m toppings

6. Several silver streamers strewn

Lost property

1. One top hat

2. One other kind of hat, maybe the kind that belongs to a puritan (inappropriately)

3. A tiny velvet jacket

4. A black feather boa

5. A kind of piece of stuff that I think may have served as a bustle

6. A Tesco canvas re-usable (good) bag covered with ladybirds

7. An Onken yoghurt pot containing a mysterious brown substance - feel free to come back for it