Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the quest to learn this here forthcoming script, I'm enlisting anyone and everyone to help me with my lines.

A couple of weeks ago, weekend away, saw Russell and sister Ruth enlisted to read all the parts. This worked quite well. Russell read the boys and Ruth read the girls so it wasn't too confusing.

A couple of nights ago, mother neatly solved the 'who's speaking' problem by adopting a different voice for each. For Marion, she was posh. Irwin, she went kind of Texan. Rhonda, she was silly, flirty, flighty. Katherine, she slurred like a bastard. And Tom. Tom was a triumph. She did American speaking with a cut glass English accent. A tour de force.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A nice little weekend all in.

Friday saw a joyful reunion with temporary flatmate and sandy dog. We watched Fantastic Mr Fox (who knew that a pipe-cleaner puppet, albeit one with the voice of George Clooney, could be sexy?), just to provoke the dog. But we fell asleep to a female (dog's a girl) before the end. So a bit of catching up later in the weekend was required. Cracking film though. Based on a brilliant story of course which is always a good start.

Saturday saw The Great Post-Show Reunion. Rather hampered by the absence of some key protagonists. But the protagonists who did attend performed beautifully. I almost believed that they missed it as much as I.

Except horrifyingly, selfishly, inconsolably inconsiderately, it seems that life moves on. Yvonne was about to head off at the next day's crack of dawn to a Zumba training day. Hilary and Chris were mid-poetry performance weekend. Greedy Cari has two new projects - Secret Rapture and The Stantons. Gillian's busy house-sitting around Scotland. Helen had sprained her wrist from hand-standing at Whorehouse rehearsals. Tommy sidetracked everyone from the evening of grief with a claimed birthday. Matt and Umi were just back from fun, frivol and film museums in Japan. Leny has approximately six costuming projects on the go, along with a new Czech love. Neil is always nine days in a row out and about doing things, already with the next audition lined up. Ross was too busy with clients to even attend.

Let me be a w***er and quote my SR character and plaintively cry (though I bet this is a misquote): "are we not allowed a moment of grief?"

Well yes, would say Irwin if he was here, but that was not even three but nearer five weeks ago. "You have to move on."

So Hilary took off her picture perfect portrait of herself to her next poetry performance. Chris trotted off in her wake. Helen stepped out after claiming a (two children under ten) lie-in for a spot of brunch. And I resolved that indeed, it's time. I shall change my plaintive blog status. I shall not mention - unless provoked - my Tempest again.

O. Unless it's to revel in an impending profit.

Maybe I'll give myself an end of the month deadline.
Wordle: play thing

A snapshot of my life, courtesy of Wordle.
Gradually, gradually, I am shedding Tempest paraphernalia.

I returned the red with golden studs handbag to Mary last week.

Hilary stole off with her script and beautiful portrait photo early early on Sunday morning before I'd even properly woken up. I expect to see it framed over her fireplace shortly.

And I briefly crossed paths with the elusive and stylish red-lipsticked and about to set off to London to make sushi Ms Chilver last night to return her yellow DMs.

I now just need to offload the jumbled nest of what passes in our world for ticket stubs and the now empty cashbox to somebody willing and we're done.

Phsew. (Again.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Phsew. Survived 3 nights in a row of rehearsals - and survived the fundamental shame of crawling about the floor bearing skimpy resemblance to my character's animal of choice - and now it's Friday.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

I have this friend staying at the moment while she has the ancient maps ripped off her bathroom walls and fine new units and elegant tiles installed in their place.

And she's been an angel as she's cooked me tea and replaced various light bulbs which had given up the ghost but lain unreplaced as I never go to a lightbulb shop. This morning, she was talking about sweeping my living room floor as she's worried about all the sand she's been treading in. I explained that as it was also thick with dust, I should probably do it. And indeed I would. Any day now.

But of course I haven't really seen her as I've been rehearsing for the past couple of nights and shall be so again tonight. We passed fleetingly this morning as she returned from her dog walk and I was running round in my tights. I had anticipated that she'd be startled and perhaps a little scared by my unruly way of life. And this morning she offered "I don't think you need a flat as you only come home to sleep. You just need a room in a B&B. You'd save a fortune - and you'd get breakfast." Perhaps there is some wisdom in this.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I just happened upon a great New Statesman review for the star-studded Waiting for Godot that visited Edinburgh last year. I agree with all he said about McKellan and Stewart. Unfortunately, I slept through most of Mr Callow's star turn so can pass no reasonable comment.
So having celebrated how little I have to carry about in this new acting-only capacity, today I dragged into work:
  • my briefcase
  • my script
  • a cross and chain
  • two white tops
  • a selection of essential cosmetics (photo shoot time)
  • a giant stapler
  • a red leatherette handbag (in addition to my own weighty 'hand'bag)
  • a large plastic cover for foodstuffs
  • a selection of floral scarves
  • a larger selection of trinkets and baubles
Mary at least will be glad.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tonight, at last, we start rehearsals for The Secret Rapture. I am thirstily looking forward to it.

I am also experiencing that familiar frisson of delight that I can pitch up at 7:28pm without being late. I won't rush boiling hot, back footed and uneasy towards the stony steps, late late always late to see a clutch of resentful looking people forcing their faces into pleasant grimaces at my (late) approach. I don't have to remember keys for our rehearsal rooms. I don't have to drag bottles of clinking buckfast and sailor's hats about with me. I don't have to carry a big plump folder containing what everyone's meant to be doing when, everywhere I go, just in case. I don't need fifteen new mobile numbers in my phone. All I need to do is remember a few lines. It's a wonderful feeling!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sorry. I stand corrected. Your collective breath has been bated. Rather than baited. I'm an inattentive fool. But I daresay you knew that already.
I know you'll have had no pleasure at all in your weekends as you've waited with baited breath for the outcome of my (thirty-fourth) battle with the Fringe office.

You may now rest assured that all is well. I won. Voilá (and yes, I know the accent is pointing the wrong way but I don't know how to spin it round).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I ran a workshop on the barge today. Now that was a bizarre experience. I sat through a presentation on there yesterday but luckily it was interesting enough that I didn't stare mournfully about dwelling on what had gone before.

Today, workshop running, you get a bit more chance to pause for thought, primary school teacher-esque, when they're working away in their little groups.

The first moment of brilliant bizarreness came when it dawned on me that clearly the boat hasn't been used for anything much interactive since we 'moved out'. As the flipcharts were still lying all neatly flipped in that little low bit at the end. So I had to grovel around in this little low bit to retrieve one which is always a dignified way to start a meeting.

Then the flipchart still had Chris' tempest-torn boat scrawled on it. And the legs were all lop-sided as it hasn't been used for six weeks. And then as I up-ended it, I found a little tattoo backing sticky bit that someone had clearly peeled off before sponging on their nautical (or spidery) design and school-boy chewing-gum style, fastened there instead.

The rest of it passed pretty uneventfully. Til I happened to be at the right end of the boardroom table, listening to them trotting through their offerings and it dawned on me suddenly that this was more or less exactly where I was sitting for my favourite frozen "anything" moment. So I grinned inappropriately as a client shared a difficult political issue.

With luck, they didn't notice.
I didn't think that laying our hands on the Fringe office so-called "sold out laurel" would be too much of a problem given our circumstances. However, it seems that the games with the Fringe office must continue.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I just got an email from Ferdinand Prince of Naples.

Glad everyone's missing it as much as me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

If I were to just write down the things that people say to me in research groups, I would have my masterpiece.

Tonight. Glasgow. Unassuming-looking woman:

"It was almost as if someone had taken a hammer and smashed my whole world."

I saw The Illusionist on Sunday. More catch up cinema. And I must say I was a bit puzzled.

Now I think back to what people who’ve seen it have told me about it and it’s fair to say that I don’t actually remember anyone saying it was brilliant. Naomi suggested that My Friend Mr Neill had felt that not very much had happened in it. But this could be a wicked falsehood. Though it does sound like something that he would say. And Russell I recall was fairly pragmatically muted. And he saw the EIF premiere.

The film looks unquestionably gorgeous. Edinburgh seems to lend itself to this jaggedy scribbly gorgeous attention to detail illustrative style. Even the lighting is beautifully observed – that miraculous way that Edinburgh can be strewn with patches of clear sharp light inbetween heavy plump grey clouds is surely distinctive and unique. George Street I loved. The dresses I loved. The bizarre occupants of the boarding house. There’s all sorts of tiny observations in there that smack of a thing which had love lavished on it.

But the story. I think I just couldn’t quite figure it out. I couldn’t believe this peculiar relationship between magician and (?) child was sinisterly intended. But if it wasn’t, what a dreadful tragic ending. Are we really meant to think that she bled him relentlessly dry - with only a maybe rabbit stew and a bit of ironing offered up in return - and then departed without a backward glance when she had all she wanted? This would be a perfectly reasonable plot line but sits surely ill at ease alongside such a charming, delighting in life series of pictures.

And the angry rabbit. Well, I wept when he set it free – although rather unfoundedly as it was a mean old thing. Let me imagine instead that I wept for all that the rabbit represented

And then the mournful card that he left behind on the vacated kitchen table. Well, after this, I almost forgave the rest of the film as it made my disillusioned romantic’s heart sing.

But really, in summation, puzzlement. Gorgeous looking but a sad and bitter story that ruined it. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

Eeee it does not like it when I cut and paste from Word. That'll teach me for my Scotrail train wifi-less laptop-led efficiency.
I was pottering and sorting through three months’ accumulated heaps of stuff last night as I got back from Glasgow a whole precious half hour earlier than expected and I came across all the Tempest audition forms.

S’funny to think that 4 months ago, I didn’t know half of the heap from adam and now I feel like I can hardly bear for a day to go by without seeing them. Self-indulgent lunacy alternatively.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I bumped into Angela Binnie yesterday. With admirable frankness, she said the following:

"You see, the thing is I really love Shakespeare. I know his texts really well. And I don't like them being messed about with. I've been to see a lot of his plays over the years. And I know that these modern adaptations can work really well. You know, taking the script and updating it to a different time period. I've seen that done a lot. But I just thought, hearing what you were doing with the Tempest, that I wouldn't like it. So to be quite honest with you, that's why I didn't come."

I think this supercedes as my favourite excuse, Edward's "I started reading the script and I hated it so if you don't mind, I'm not going to come. It's nothing personal.

I shall aspire to such honesty.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I have now had nothing alcoholic to drink and more than seven hours sleep a night for three days. Three days. I'd like to say I feel amazing. But it would be fair to say I feel better. Pure. Not quite as good as Cari's week in Turkey chanting and living off liquefied veg but I reckon by tomorrow, I'll be almost as wholesome and radiant.

Celebrating all this new free time me, I trotted along to the SCDA play library a couple of nights ago to start scooping up options for whatever happens next. And there, sitting gloriously in the script taker out seat, loaded up with the primest scripts that the SCDA has to offer, was winning Saughton whatever they are director woman. She pretended not to know me but I wanted to cry out "I made eye contact with you, gave you a fake grimacing smile and mouthed insincerely "yes, very well done" in some Italian restaurant opposite the Playhouse on your night of glory. Don't pretend you now don't know me" but I kept these thoughts in my heart. I didn't want Douglas substitute dear John Kelly knowing that I'm a Bad Person.

Then, at very long last, weeks after all the cool ones, Inception. Four comments only:

i. Cillian Murphy's cheekbones. The definition of sculpted.

ii. I don't think Pete Postlethwaite should have been his dad.

iii. Laboured the Marion Cottillard scenes a bit. But I suppose he wanted to get value for money from her.

iv. The ubiquity of English. Well I know they speak it in a lot of places. But when they pitched up in Mombasa or Mumbai or wherever it was, it seemed a little bit too handy.

That aside, cracking effects. A brilliantly untied up ending. That Christopher Nolan is a smart man. If you haven't seen it, try and catch it on a big screen. A baby sized version wouldn't do it any sort of justice.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Saturday night, with beautiful serendipity, turned out to be my favourite theatre thing of the Festival(s) so far.

Diciembre. At the Lyceum. By a Chilean group called Teatro en el Blanco. Which apparently means either Theatre On Target or Starting From Zero.

I felt slightly bitter as I trotted towards the theatre as I'd wished o how I'd wished to go see the Mahler at the Usher Hall. The symphony of 1,000 voices. I don't believe this gets performed very often on account of needing 1,000. And I haven't ever heard it in all my life but I like a big choir so I'd noted it and resolved to attend it fairly early on. Nurtured by the fact that one of my clients who faithfully trotted along to the Tempest and was subsequently adorable about it was performing as one of the 1,000.

But unfortunately in the cut throat world of the EIF classical repertoire, noting something in the programme does not translate into a ticket. Several weeks ago, I made my ticket attempt and twas gone gone gone. And then I had to walk past happy hoards of smug people who hadn't only noted but had Acted and bought a ticket pouring into the neighbouring venue. (Later, I found consolation on discovering that tickets had sold out on the day on which they went on sale. Well, I would never have been this organised.)

Anyway, heartened by a five star review from Joyce in the plate glass windows of the Lyc, I sprung more cheerfully into the theatre. Procured my ticket. And god love them when I slunk into the auditorium with seven minutes to spare, the theatre was half empty. More than half empty. I sloped up to a programme vendor to ask if many more people were expected as there were, at that point, approx 70 or 80 people scattered throughout the stalls. And he laughed drily and said that they had over 500 unsold seats that night so I could take my pick.

I plumped down behind Jo Clifford who had a prime central seat and so it began.

It was wonderful wonderful wonderful. A war torn story - my favourite. Brother gets back on leave from the army to two pregnant twin sisters (his - the sisters, I mean, not the unborn babes). One sister is all in favour of the war and extolls its virtues endlessly. So what if he dies? It will be in the name of honour and glory. And other sister is utterly against the war and tries to persuade him to desert.

They are attended by a couple of relatives and a jilted (brother's) lover. It's very fast, very dark, very political, very funny. Very lovely. All in Spanish so fast fast subtitles, peculiarly perched in the boxes so slight neck cricking going on.

And despite the auditorium with over 500 empty seats, they gave the most stupendous performance. Brilliant brilliant acting. It was the perfect festival finale.

I fantasise about directing it. Fluent Spanish, anyone? O and you must be beautiful.

Then I got to meet for sure a truncated collection of my beloved Tempest cast in the Trav bar for clutching at old straws drinks. But some is better than none. And I was consoled. Thanks most, all. I'll be over it soon, promise.
This weekend was a frantic EIF catch up weekend. Riskily as I often hate EIF stuff. And Caledonia did not, to my thin unpopulist mind, bode terribly well for everything else. But remarkably, I loved all that I saw. And would certainly have loved at least two of the things I didn't see. So it's been a delightful festival close.

Friday I trotted along x2 pints the worse for wear to see Paco Pena, a Flamenco dance company. Being dim, I believed this to be the name of the company but set right as ever by Mother, Senor Pena is in fact a guitarist, composer, dramatist and mentor. Or so his website says, at any rate. So it's quite possible that he himself was strumming his instrument at some point on Friday night.

Now I don't know a great deal about dance but I like a bit of music and I like a nice bit of dance and felt that flamenco surely couldn't get that abstract. And these EIF dance things to tend to be beautifully lit. And this show - Quimeras, they called it - ticked all of these boxes. Lovely guitars. And some drumming. Some brilliant dancing. Lovely lights. Beautiful people (my favourite was the spindly flamenco dancer who wore first a white and then a green shirt - I would like to marry him). Even - my dream scenario - some sort of political point being made about colonialism and oppression and a sliver of racism and the difficulties faced by African immigrants in South America (they had a few bits of voiceovers - don't imagine that I could interpret all of this through the wonders of the dance).

My only criticism was an absurd one - they handled the departures of the dancers after their respective 'numbers' oddly clumsily, not quite getting the lights down in time to prevent the audience seeing them shuffling off stage slightly sheepishly. But then let's be kind. I saw their first night and perhaps they weren't used to such a large stage and so the timing of some of the cues had to be worked on. Or perhaps it's just the Flamenco way...

Saturday afternoon, I caught The Man Who Fed Butterflies from a company called Teatro Cinema. The company name does a good job of describing their art - a kind of mix of theatre and - indeed, you're right - cinema. I almost walked out of this show approx ten minutes in as I felt I might not be able to bear its ridiculous theatricality. But I'm glad I bore with it as it turned out that this melodramatic style was a deliberate thing, probably making some deep point if you were clever enough to understand.

This was a funny little story about what may or may not be an ancient Chilean myth which tells of a man who made a pilgrimage once a year to feed the butterflies on their annual migration. This man came from a long line of those who did the same who - it was quite hard to follow the story sometimes - I think appointed a successor towards their dying moments and I think indeed our withered old man who spent a great deal of the show running, panting and gasping did find his successor so all in the end, was well.

But this butterfly story was mixed in with another story about a film producer making what appeared to be an absurd historical epic (hence the dreadful stylistic stuff) though it turned out to be a poignant declaration of love and hope with a girlfriend in a coma whom he'd abandoned in the street to bleed to death amid some sort of coup. And there was the guilt and the love and the unfinished business and the mother re-uniting them when they turn off girlfriend's life support machine except girlfriend miraculously breathes unaccompanied and hoorah you think she's saved but then she's off rising up from the hospital bed and flying off like a butterfly so perhaps she's not as well as you think....

It felt very much like an Almodovar film. Colourful, extraordinary, full of unanswered questions and brooding unfulfilled potential. Oh and the beautiful. Because whilst there were very many eccentric characters, often with very large noses, these all turned out to be played by approximately five relatively young and marvellously talented actors.

Anyway, the point of my excursion was to catch this method of presentation - though I think recreating it could be rather beyond our dwindling budgets. And indeed, the interweaving of film and theatre worked extraordinarily effectively. Hence, for example, the butterfly girl who walked in real life across the stage with a pair of filmed wings flapping behind her. A lot of show-offy swirling perspectives, a lot of computer generated stuff, and some lovely clever effects with lighting only portions of the screens so people appeared to be suspended in apartment windows and things. It was super stuff. Just fantastical enough to suit me down to the ground.

As to Saturday night, I must keep you in suspense as I have work to do.

A bientot.

Friday, September 03, 2010

I happened to be the first one onto my floor at work today and even the foolish fumbling about with the alarm fob makes me feel vaguely nostalgic. Except Ross wasn't there to witness my continual lack of forward thinking. Even this I miss.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

La Creuse. Le soleil. Rien a faire. C'etait merveilleux.

Back home and my Tempest flowers are dead.

My cast grin out at me from behind a glass photo frame.

I sit, despite my best holiday intentions, on the sofa, post-committee meeting watching the tail end of the ten o' clock news eating a chicken kebab (seemed like a good bet at the time).

And already looking forward like an idiot to everything that's coming up next.