Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You can tell rehearsals are beginning again because today, with me at work, I have not one but four bags.

I expect this will only get worse.

Monday, May 30, 2011


It begins.



Sunday, May 29, 2011

I made sure to celebrate my freedom this weekend as it shall be my last uninterrupted one for a little while.

I celebrated by catching up on all sorts of menial things - such as answering emails addressed to me 4 to 6 weeks ago.

But I also celebrated with two delightful cultural (in the loosest sense) outings.

Dunsinane was not loose culture. It was pure culture.

A so-called sequel to Macbeth, a joint production with NTS and the RSC and boasting a poster with the wide-eyed charms of Siobhan Redmond, my heart was heavy at the prospect of seeing it. More dread beating on the chipped-shouldered Scottish drum, I feared.

I tried my hardest to stop the bus getting me there in time, leaving not nearly enough time for the journey. But the Lord was smiling on me again and I not only got there with minutes to spare but the ticket man tried to sell me a concession.

I shouldn't have worried.

The critics aren't being nationalistic.

They're just being reasonable.

It didn't put a foot wrong.

The set was really smart. Suggestive enough but gave them beautiful flexibility. (I was particlarly horrified to see them making use of a screen to hide sordid impropriety in exactly the same fashion that I have planned for the festival. Roxana has clearly been rifling through my blocking notes while I left them vulnerable and unattended on the Cuban coach.)

The acting was lightly, delicately served up. Just dramatic enough. Enabling me to successfully overlook their silly warlike costumes (olden times style - SO not my cup of tea). I even liked Ms Redmond.

The directing. I'm jealous. She did a fine job. It was all signposted well enough but without any heavy hands; the important bits left suitably ambiguous.

The band. Of course I was in love with them from the minute I saw their instruments scattered in readiness in their little portion of the stage. I wish my this August Music Man could see them and steal ideas.

The script was delivered courtesy of Mr Greig. I'm already a devoted fan of his. And he beautifully overdelivered, particularly in the light of my meagre expectations. Lovely language. Veering confidently from sad bits to dramatic bits to very funny bits. Brilliant use of the Gaelic - as people cleverer than me have noted. Even his narrator worked.

The only thing I can't comment on fairly was the story. It leapt off at a cracking pace. It kept me wide awake for the first half - no mean feat given my recent debauch. But I'm afraid the second half and - fatal error! - my sly slip down to the front of the (upper) circle which therefore gave me a ledge on which to rest my heavy head combined to defeat me. I took a little nap approx halfway through. (I say 'halfway' but really, how could I tell? I slept.) So I missed the denouement. Which was a shame as the tailend of it - complete with lovely effect which I shan't ruin for those of my readers who shall be in attendance later this week - sounded satisfactorily wound together. But how could I really tell?

So - and the caveat is only fair - what I saw, I loved. To my enormous surprise. Which only makes it better. Right? I look forward to finding out the actual story later this week.

Today, in stark contrast to these rarefied pleasures, I watched the fourth of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. It was silly nonsense. And I was glad to see that their director hasn't been stealing any of my ideas.

Though Enobarbus with gold teeth, dreadlocks and the charm of the devil....? Maybe.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Man o man I survived x5 working days in a row.

Forgotten I could do that.
Last night was notable for the fact that BS Neill led a conga snakey chain of most of the people attending the concert all around the Queen's Hall.

I've not seen that before.

Don't suppose I'll see it again.

It was remarkable.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are you there, god?

It's me, cmfwood.

Just wanted to say thanks for reading this.

And fixing it so that Tuesday's conference call is cancelled.

I almost forgive you the chief exec dinner now.

You're a life saver.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last night.

Well I don't know if I'd go so far as to say Antony (hearts) Cleopatra.

But they were certainly civil.

The evening's beginning was shrouded in (small) disaster.

I had fancied that I'd chosen an Egyptian restaurant for the Great Introduction.

It turned out to be Sudanese.

Cleo spilled out of her taxi seat prematurely and received a terrible battering en route to the (Sudanese) restaurant.

Antony wandered to and fro and to and fro past Cleo and I, sitting happily (shakily) chatting in the restaurant window bay, temporarily unable to locate the place of choice.

Eleven minutes late, he finally found his bruised and broken love.

And the courtship could commence.

I took care not to leave them alone so they couldn't exchange any mean words at any point Behind My Back.

And publicly, they properly played along and were perfectly civil to each other.

I trust this is an excellent omen.

So far, so auspicious.
God is reading my blog.

Or the Scottish Government is (are).

One of my Tuesday impediments has moved to Thursday.

I just need to figure out whether I can reasonably negotiate on the second.

As a trade off, our chief executive (presumably also reading this) sent me a timely reminder of whom is in charge.

I must have dinner with him in a handful of Wednesday's time.

It's almost like he was squinting over my shoulder at the rehearsal schedule.

Anyway, weeks away, that's easily dealt with.

And in the meantime, thanks, god.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Anyway, enough moaning.

Something far more exciting.

Tonight, Antony meets Cleopatra.

For The First Time.

Wish them luck.
So, you know, I'm not complaining. Just observing. That the age old pattern is weaving its way back into my life. Snake-like, in fact.

The pattern is this - and you'll all know it well:

No show = quite idle at work
A show = stupidly frantic at work

With the exception of 4 or 5 nights, I have done almost no evening working in recent weeks.

But rehearsals start next week. Tuesday (first read through with Everyone. I mean All The Cast and All The Crew) and Thursday.

So let's see how my evenings are looking next week.

Monday: free
Tuesday: 6pm - 9pm working late preparing a document for Wednesday
plus somehow simultaneously, 6:30 - 8:30pm conference call
Wednesday: free
Thursday: late train back means I'll not be anywhere near Edinburgh by 7:30pm

How and I repeat how can this be???

But it always is.

Monday, May 23, 2011

x2 lovely treats at the weekend.

Last week saw our May production taking to the boards. The Comedy of Errors. A script I had no time for til I saw Propeller's production back in February.

Gordon did a very nice job with it. He snipped up the script, put a projector into a starring role to aid the sometimes cumbersome storytelling and found himself a very clever cast to make sure the resulting nonsense skipped along.

Various of my favourites were featuring (oh, wait, not that I - as impartial director - have favourites...) alongside some very talented newcomers. I managed to come away without a programme rather carelessly but I did like the two sets of twins and they were supported by some rather fabulous cameos.

It made for an exceedingly entertaining Friday. And best of very best of all, it looks as if we should have made money.

(As I'm hankering for the day that I do a play that requires the payment of some performing rights...)

On Sunday night, I trotted along to the cinema, slightly speculatively as I didn't expect to find myself with time for such a treat. The spontaneous nature of the outing and the inevitable (if I'd thought about it) sellout of the fourth portion of the pirates story meant I was "forced" into seeing something called Win Win.

I knew nothing of it but a quick scan of that informative cinema magazine mentioned The Station Master in the same breath. So I thought it would probably be ok.

And it was infinitely better than that.

Round faced Paul Giamatti starred. The story sounds desperately unappealing. A family take in a teenager who turns out to be a wrestling (literally) tearaway.

But the story unfolds with a beautiful understated charm, coaxed along by that kind of acting that is hardly acting at all. It kinds of resolves itself and it kind of doesn't, as with all the best - or most real, at any rate - stories.

And you're left - well, I was left - happy to be alive to be walking back across the Meadows on a blustery almost summer's evening.

You can't ask for more than that.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Only two months too late, I've been harvesting my precious-est emails from my old work account so it can (thank you thank you thank you, dkpw, for your patience) at last be laid to rest.

It's a task that of course could consume hours. So many small petty but fondly entertaining anecdotes in amongst all the practical stuff.

Amongst my favourites was one from an audience member commenting on our production of Some Explicit Polaroids. The final couple of lines of the email read:

The play engaged me a lot more than I thought it would. I'll be disturbed for weeks.

Praise indeed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I finished blocking A&C 47 kilometres outside of Gauntánamo.

That's not strictly true as I'd foolishly forgotten the final page of the script. But I finished blocking the last of the pages that I had, at any rate.

Charmian declaimed "O, break! O, break!" in the melodramatic way of the Shakespereans and I was done.

So where I had a bit of a moment, staring out of the window, eyes possibly starting to brim with a little sense of the tragic when poor Antony's knife finally hit the spot as our trusty coach drove and drove 1086 kilometres across the world's seventeenth largest island, Cleopatra's almost passing met only with a (disrespectful) punch the air I'm done.

Poor Cleo.

There'll be plenty time to mourn you in the coming months.