Saturday, July 31, 2010

Well it's been a hideous nausea-inducing heart-clutching couple of days getting here but I take an eventual pitiful satisfaction in this.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Now I am absolutely not being ungrateful and this is a wonderful opportunity and of course I'm loving every minute but essentially now, alongside directing this dear show, I'm also running a venue.

Must try and remember not to do this again.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sunday wasn't helped by the fact that I arrived 45 minutes late and furious on account of a delayed plane. Obviously I am grateful that bmibaby chose to ground the plane rather than despatching it with bits hanging off into the air. But I wish they'd rushed the replacement from Jersey a little more quickly. Though the whole logistics of running an airline continues to fascinate me. But this is not a blog about transport methods.

But bless dear patient hard-working eternally kind Neil. He had organised them into some semblance of order and so the time they spent vulnerable, directorless and afraid - with luck - wasn't totally wasted.

And the run-through was pretty respectable. The music is shaping up brilliantly. My only mild concern is the vanity trip at the end of the first act. But I have every faith that Caliban will execute it with such aplomb that people will be left weeping in the aisles (if we had aisles). So perhaps it'll work ok. My fault if it doesn't.

Tuesday's rehearsal veered between patches of remarkable perfection that made me hug myself with rapturous delight. And patches of shame. But we have a whole week and a half to iron out these latter patches so no need to worry. With luck (lots of luck being cited in this post, I notice!), fine sturdy groundwork for smoothening out the brilliance has been laid.

And now it's all starting to settle down again. The bi*ch situation is in desperate need of resolution but plans are afoot for so doing. My set design and costume ladies are back on this landmass which is a peculiar relief. Props were delivered to one location on Tuesday and (thanks, GM) will be delivered to another tomorrow. I've sent off my blurb to Mr Rudden to qualify us for the esteemed ENDAs. Oh and most excitingly today, the Independent - I mean, THE Independent - phoned me asking for photos of the show for Sunday's Arts and Books supplement. I have faced the biting disappointment of the no show picture with The List already this month. But perhaps the law of averages suggests that sooner or later - of course, with luck - one of DKPW's boat photos will appear in some sort of national press. Fingers (luckily) crossed.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Of course it's only normal for it to suddenly go a bit shambly. First rehearsal of the week didn't quite happen for a variety of sketchy reasons which I love to think weren't actually my fault but possibly were. Though it left me with time to have a nice chat with actorless prompt of the night, Dave and to give Laura her bitchy blocking and to do a little work with Ferdinand as he scowled back at me. So it wasn't a total waste of time.

Thursday was more shambly. Ferdinand (who was not on Thursday particularly shambly but has great empathy) felt it might be a consequence of not being on the boat. Perhaps. Or perhaps I was just grumpy and people didn't quite know their lines yet so this made me grumpier. But I only really growled at one point.

And an odd growl now and again probably does no harm. We're back on the boat on Sunday in what I expect to be more glorious sunshine given our nautical track record. To my deep disappointment, we didn't appear to get a boat photo in The List, despite my conscientious emailing of several picture formats to them (thanks, DKPW) though I haven't painstakingly leafed through every page of the bumper issue yet. But this aside, I think we're limping along towards getting there.

42% of tickets are sold. 18 days are left to go. Though that's almost, no wait, that now is 17 days. It's going to be fine.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

I expected this afternoon's rehearsal to be atrocious. It was the first after the scripts should have been shed. Considerable numbers of the cast were hungover on account of Saturday night debauchery. Alonso was selfishly up at St Andrews. Stephano selfishly taking a holiday with his lovely wife in London. The weather was selfishly not raining again. Though mysteriously twitter suggests that it was raining on Liam Rudden at approximately the same time, also in Leith. Perhaps god really has created a giant Shore sized umbrella for us.

Anyway, the entrails were not laid out auspiciously. But I need not have feared. Hangovers were mostly fought and beaten. John did sterling work as both king and courtier. Larry prompted with fervent attention. Mary laughed obligingly at many of the right moments and other less expected junctures. Neil and Tommy strummed delightfully harmoniously. Miranda did a mildly hungover but still charming rendition of Beyoncé's Single Ladies, complete with dance routine pastiche. The Antonio / Sebastian plotting scene was enlivened by Miranda and Ferdinand's love scene delivered on the roof atop us. Many lines were remembered. Though many more were forgotten. But all in all, it was a pretty respectable offering. And they still - sorry, we still - have three weeks and a day to go. It's going to be a cracking little show.
And now we have made it into The List. Happy days.
This will inevitably sound pompous and self-congratulatory (as if I don't always). But we had a really cracking show with our little Shakespeare in Lot last night. I suppose the virtue of collecting together a bunch of narcissists is that they'll all work and strive to do whatever they're doing pretty respectably. At any rate, they did last night.

Highlights for me included the witches as Morningside ladies - and then Ready Steady Cookers. John Kelly hand-wringing as Susan tormented him with the bloodied daggers. He's a fine actor, that man. Gordon did a cracking Henri V at Agincourt (not that I would have known this but the programme told me so) that elicited a bit of a spontaneous cheer. SJ did a lovely monologue On Quoting Shakespeare. I must urge her to audition for us some day. Neil and Natasha did a lovely dance - as did Margaret and Susan for that matter. That Wendy Barrett is a clever lady. The Improbables were powerfully masterful. And my Miranda and Ferdinand were just the handsomest couple you could hope for.

From a completely selfish point of view, I managed to choke out my Much Ado lines I think without hiccup although I possibly said one word shockingly wrong. But it wasn't the disaster which I was terrified it would be. So I can (sadly) leave my script at home today and roam free and unencumbered. Though of course I'll miss it. As I had rather hear a dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.

DG did a rather superb job of compering the whole thing. And then hosting an impromptu after-show party of quite extraordinary debauchery.

All in all, a fine night. We might even have made a slender profit. Well done us.

Friday, July 16, 2010

And another crazy packed week rolls to a close. Too much to do, too little time.

This might be this week's major excitement. ("By Claire Wood" feels a little bit - no, make that a very big bit - wrong. But there we go.)

Although the eternal patience, kindness and talent of my very clever cast has done more to make my week easy. Thanks, all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The photo, by the way, (in response to some quizzing) is just because I like it. Product of my visit to London a couple of months ago and a brunch / lunch in favourite Smiths of Smithfield with my girls on the Sunday afternoon.

Irrelevant but possibly more noteworthy (though that wouldn't be hard), I've just been to see Heartbreaker / L'arnacoeur. It features the incredibly handsome man from The Beat That My Heart Skipped. But don't be fooled into thinking that this was my sole reason for going to see it. No. Wrong. Obviously I'm a real lover of romantic comedy so it was for this reason that I sought it out despite rather mixed reviews.

And I was pleasantly surprised.Romain Duris, true to form, is delicious. Though he fights for adorability with the very beautiful Vanessa Paradis. The plot is ridiculous but redeemed slightly by two great supporting performances from sister of Romain and brother-in-law who bring a lovely sometimes pathos sometimes comedy to the silly tale.

But you see, unlike Jason Solomons, I don't find Duris' arrogance and dishonesty hard to admire. I don't believe that Vanessa didn't hint at any interior charm. (And even if she did, who would care?) And I love Dirty Dancing. All in, a bit of a delightful romp. See it if you have room for frothy French nonsense in your life.
Mark Fisher remembers us. Or claims to. How thrilling.

Maybe I've unwittingly sown the seeds of the most scathing yet cruelly apt review ever known to man (and woman).

Though it's obviously far more likely that he just won't come.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I like the weird democracy of this.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

This morning. The gym. Eyes streaming as I was all of seven minutes out of bed. Head full of my lines from Much Ado. Clambering onto the exercise bike and a man (peculiarly fully dressed rather than in gym kit) approached and declaimed: "you know they're not even touching on the banks at G20?" I managed no more than a (wise but sad) nod. I should have retorted "you always end with a jade's trick. I know you of old." Barely appropriate but it might have flummoxed him.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Yesterday's marathon session (not watching Nadal) offered many unexpected pleasures:

a) Everyone coped infinitely more capably than I'd dreaded with the new space. I think it might end up looking rather nice

b) It didn't rain as much as I would have liked (except when we were indoors during which time the boat dripped copiously) but no-one slid off the edge of the deck when we were outside

c) Powerful gusty wind oddly didn't seem to interfere terribly with audibility, even quayside to boat interior. And Matt, Cari and John coped admirably with the onslaught

d) Linsday turned up after a brief docklands detour and played the melodica marvellously

e) Neil and Tommy sound just superb. Should we usurp Jacques to make way for Neil for the end of act one solo..?

f) And Matt can sing. Not just sing but sing remarkably nicely. Not that I would have expected anything other though, to be honest. But a relief nonetheless. Never sung the song ever before, he quips, and then launches into a near perfect rendition. This is the kind of 'not singing' I favour.

All in all, an excellent day's work. Thanks, guys.

Oh and we've now sold 20% of tickets. I've sent out a handful of optimistic press releases. Rather fabulous flyer courtesy of GC is off to the printer. So we can sit back and wait for the rest of the tickets to sell while barely lifting a finger.

I'm off to watch Schindler's List to celebrate.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Incidentally, may I congratulate one and all for not emitting a whimper of complaint last Sunday at the rather careless rehearsal / England game clash..?

And today we have a rather perfect Men's Singles overlap. Sorry girls and boys. I'll plan it better next year.
This (rain aside) is how a Sunday morning should be. (Old before my time) Classic FM. A leisurely read (Anthony Beevor's Stalingrad as my WW2 obsession gathers pace). Porridge. A potter on the internet to explore the itinerary for the wedding of lovely Sheryl who inconsiderately planned her nuptual bliss for precisely the same moment as my dress rehearsal.

I suppose this is what a Sunday morning is like if you're DG and have your play blocked three to four months before rehearsals even begin (not that I continue to torment myself with my shabby inadequacy).

When I grow up, can I be an insomniac?

Now I'm meanly hoping the rain lasts for the afternoon as I could do with:

a) establishing how much of a risk slipping off the edge of the wet deck really is for an actor (we hope that Gillian is wearing her sturdy shoes)
b) getting the fights over whether they should or shouldn't be permitted to carry umbrellas out of the way

The afternoon promises to be interesting also as we're attempting the first full run on the boat. So meanly (meanly again! So much meanness...) I am eager to see how much they grasped where they should be when in the hypothetical rehearsal space and how much of the knowledge fingertip clings on in a different location.

Unfortunately The One Who Seems To Struggle Most With Spatial Sense (TOWSTSMWSS) isn't here today. So that's a joy postponed. I expect all the others to be perfect.

Oh and by the way, happy Independence Day.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Of course the good thing about being at work terribly late (from my point of view - not from Neil's point of view) is that I have ample time to wander about on spotify song-hunting.

We're after a "oh my, poor Ferdinand, his father's just drowned dead" song and a possible curtain call song. The lateness of the hour is quite possibly addling my brain as I'm sending Neil what seems like wonderful suggestion after wonderful suggestion.

I would not like having to pen his "letting me down gently" email in the morning.