Sunday, July 31, 2011


(Moody food of us that trade in love.)

Is almost sorted.

Thanks to Mr McIntosh and his extensive collection.

And a heroic last minute intervention from Mr Graveling.

Even the curtain call track is more or less decided.

I shan't spoil the surprise for you.

You'll have to come and see it.

But it'll make you sob.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In a brief diversion from my usual theatrical narcissism, I spent last night at the Crescent Supper Club.

The concept has crept up from London. Exquisite food in lovely relaxed (i.e. not a restaurant) surroundings. The Crescent has just opened its doors. They trialled it with friends two weeks ago, opened to the paying public for the first time last weekend and last night saw the start of round two.

We arrived with a hundred questions in our head. How would they cope with cooking for multiple people simultaneously in a domestic kitchen? Would we get to sit together? (Naomi had studied photos of previous nights and envisaged two separate tables so I burst out of the taxi and ran up the path to ensure that we secured seats together.) Very importantly, how would they fit all the wine (bring your own) in the fridge? And crucially, would we have to talk to Strangers?

The garden path led us up to a lovely proper Edinburgh flat, all polished floorboards, high ceilings, big mirrors, fine art on the walls. The sort of flat I'll surely somehow acquire when I'm grown up.

We were greeted with prosecco and pomegranate seeds. Rounds of introductions. We were four. And then we had a beautiful floppy haired boy, his exceeding cool girlfriend (vintage lace sleeve tattooed onto her upper arm), father of one of the boys that was cooking and an extraordinary lady named Edie Stark and her exceeding elegant husband. So we were nine.

We began with a tiny teacup of gazpacho with a most tomatoey taste. A perfect amuse bouche on a perfect summer's eve.

Then god bless them, I had opted for vegetarian options when most others were carniverous. They hand make as much as is reasonable from locally sourced stuffs - the shopping sounds like it takes days - so I felt particularly guilty that my main course was the only one featuring (laboriously hand ground, I don't doubt) pest0. But it was delicious.

So. Watermelon and feta and balsamic something and some sort of sprouts that should have been alfalfa but were apparently sesame as alfalfa was absent from deceitful Waitrose. Delicious. The others gorged on crab risotto.

Then the nicest gnocchi that I have ever eaten with tiny tomatoes and the hand-ground-for-one pesto and some bean like things I think and some drizzled something. Delicious delicious delicious. And pretty as a picture. Though not as pretty as the otherwise universal duck with beetroot and something else that turned out to be one of the prettiest dishes I've seen on a table for a long time.

Flourless chocolate tart with margarita creamy stuff and a tiny delicate curl of lime completed the feast. Even the banana sorbet with a lovely spicy pepper was delicious. And I despise banana.

And then coffee and (now needless to say) delicious shortbread.

Bring your own wine to fix the licensing problem so we had some sparking South African, a couple of viogniers and a pinot noir. A fine hangover fixer.

An extraordinarily exquisite meal cooked by a boy who should be far too young to serve up such stuffs. So all the makings of a wonderful evening.

What I had not counted on ("pray to god I don't have to talk to strangers - I couldn't bear that") was the niceness of the encounter with Strangers.

I was sat at the Edie / husband end of the table. And they were both beautifully charming, beautifully entertaining people. To the extent that I now want them to adopt me as an accessory to their entourage.

I chair hopped to spend a little time with photographer father and he started out working on Smash Hits. Star struck.

The two boys - of whose brains this idea was the child - were liberated from the confines of the kitchen once the coffee was served, joined us at the table and continued to be as handsomely charming as their FOH attendance had suggested. A brother appeared, a girlfriend appeared, the mother joined in. All beautiful.

The downside was that I scarcely spoke to my own friends but as I can see my own friends any time I like (though I know they'd dispute this), that matters much less.

I shall be going back. The danger with this is that Edie at al might not be there. And I'm not certain that I could cope with the disappointment.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our Man in Dundas Street has fixed it (our site of the web).

Take that, LulzSec! We shake our brave IT fists at you!

You may bring down The Sun but Am Dram shall prevail!
How thrilling.

Having laboured long and hard to bring down The Sun, LulzSec have turned their attention to us.
I happened to flick through my (hm-hmm) (that's meant to be a cough - doesn't quite work) college magazine last night and discovered this. (See bottom left hand corner.)

Art mirroring etc. Or life mirroring. Or magazine mirroring my life might be most specific of all!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dear dear evening in.

Trying to convince myself that fat boy slim (Praise You) would be a fitting curtain call.

Luckily, I've seen sense.
Feel free to buy this man a pint if you see him.

(I think it's a him. Apologies if you're not!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our Fringe competition. Here.
Woop woop!

67 tickets sold to date.

Which equates to a little over one night's capacity.

Wednesday is particularly lively so I'd scoot in quick if you have your heart set on this date.

V good rehearsal tonight.

Lovely Costume Lady doing a cracking job.

So we have almost a fully dressed cast. She's a wonder.

Publicity effort motoring along.

After yesterday's little lunchtime work, braving the incredulous stares of work colleagues, I've scouted out some potential maritime battle film clips.

It's going good.

Thanks, boys and girls.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Eeek btw.

Three weeks tonight and the first show'll be done.
Harry Potter tonight.

And shhhh, don't tell anyone but - how nice it was to hear people 'on stage' talking normally.


(But only momentarily.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

He's a clever man, this Scott who was kind enough to take the photos of my cast a couple of weeks ago.

Mind you, it obviously helps that my cast are a rather pretty bunch to start with.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Thanks for being my Man in Nearby Little France and hunting down my military expert.

Much appreciated.
Great email exchange between Lovely Costume Girl and Proculeis.

She asked the boys whether they had boots.

Proc emailed me saying he had brown cats: would they do?

She mailed back saying her first thought was this:

But yes, assuming they weren't, they'd be perfect.
I spent most of yesterday convinced that I'd pulled a muscle in my chest on account of carrying my overnight bag plus weighty laptop through Manchester on Thursday, then London on Friday.

I believe the symptoms actually begin in the arm but it did feel rather as if I was having a small heart attack.

But miraculously, when my flight back up from London arrived a l'heure, and I made it to the rehearsal rooms at only 2 minutes past the allotted hour to find most of cast strewn patiently across the pavement, my muscle strain / heart attack in waiting vanished.

I then found myself lying motionless in the Body Balance abs track this morning (should've been 'crunching' at a horribly uncomfortable angle), puzzling over the A&C soundtrack. And realised that I've hit that tipping point.

The Show has Taken Over.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Well luckily, my day was retrieved from being completely un(play)productive by a Virgin Train which considerately had wifi and meant I could nag people.

Then an over-running meeting (considerately) left me far too late to meet a favourite friend in Twick(enham).

So instead, I could sit like a weirdo tapping out thinly veiled requests to do this or that from my hotel room.

Oh, and happy days. Just discovered my street-facing hotel room channels a prize sound funnel when the police siren dashes off into the distance.

Daresay I'll sleep well tonight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Costume call to the girls to see if anyone has any potential Cleopatra dresses lying around.

And Octavia's just rather carelessly thrown this out.

Same old (Home Street) story.
Man alive.

(As Cleo would say.)

Far too much to do.

Slightly teetering on hysteria.

It's that old faithful 3 weeks and 5 days to go panic...
Very very good rehearsal last night. And still with 3 weeks and 6 days to go. (Antony's count - I'm in denial.)

First full run through without the script and by and large, most of the words (well, the words contained in my radical edit) were not only there but in the right order.

They're a very professional bunch. I'm impressed with them. (Must remember this. Fixate on the virtues of the ones that were in attendance rather than the fifth of the cast that was missing. All legitimate reasons again. Well, mostly.)

And then I woke up to find the bbc smiling on me as this was all over Breakfast News and then the Today programme. (My daily morning gym going media diet.) With this strangely anachronistic story.

Now this, boys, is why you're permanently tired and dishevelled. If we hadn't relocated the action to the modern day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Four weeks tonight. So Antony maintains. I'm not quite sure that this is correct but too tired to figure out the right answer.

Anyway, it's soon.
Btw, let it be known that I inordinately enjoyed reading Cleopatra last night.

Cleo, if you fall sick - well, put it this way - I shan't be heart-broken.

(Though a bit of notice would be good.)
Most impressive about Antony's lines is that he's extraordinarily learnt the act and scene numbers of each.

I never learn lines like that.

Think he's got a bit of a photographic memory thing going on.
Right, list of shows I'd like to review typed up.

Idiot for trying to do too much.
A whole lot of respect to the Russell for a whole bunch of excellent suggestions for hip-hoppy tracks for the back end of the show.

These were the suggestions he put forth.

A musical director in the making, me thinks.

Tommy, feel free to supplement this. Some of these are a bit girly for my liking. Bet you can do better...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


My (Mark) Antony (MA) is more or less word perfect.

'Til he gets to 'green Neptune's back'.

But as that's only four pages before (*spoiler alert*) his end, I can cope with that.

Hats off to you, sir.

And we've still - as he darkly mentioned tonight - got four whole weeks to go.

Shivery exciting excitement.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My dear devoted cast have been googling their characters in their lunchbreak.

Thanks, Oct, for restoring my faith.
Ok, ok. I know this is a bit of a tease as you don't have part one. But let's compare last night's rehearsal with the world according to the RSC.

First off, I had four people absent. Two on holiday, one working, one at band practice. All worthy reasons. But that was half of the people I needed that night. Strikes me that they could all be as involved with and committed to the project as they liked (the RSC recipe for cast absenteeism) - but it still doesn't remove their need to work / holiday / band. So that's one flaw.

On the plus side, I had one actor present who needn't have been but came purely for enthusiasm and extra practice. And one poor actor present who said about three lines all night - hampered severely by the absence of all the others - but didn't utter one mouthful of complaint.

The night began with an argument. Or perhaps more of an 'adult disagreement'. A happy hangover from our bold attempt to be bold on Sunday. (More anon.)

Various degrees of lateness so we maybe got started about quarter to eight.

Now the scripts were cast down on Monday and actually they're doing fabulously well. In contrast to some shambolic rehearsals witnessed in times past, the blocking's going a bit to pot. (Always a mild relief when I realise that I didn't actually set out to make it look like that.) But the words are pretty much there. They're all very good and this must be my great consolation.

It was a beautiful night. As it always in when we're trapped in the dank rehearsal rooms. The window was cast open with its fetching Meadow views as the sun started to think about sinking. the birds gossiped. The trees swayed slightly. And the favourite sound effect of the Meadows on balmy nights such as these - the bongos pit-a-pattering - echoed off the buildings.

All very nice. Til I spied Enobarbus from the corner of my eye (action down stage right, Enobarbus up stage left) writhing around strangely.

To the beat of the bongos, as it turned out.

I bet the RSC don't have to put up with this.
An innocent girl just carelessly said to me that she was feeling a bit stressed as she had a lot on.

I wanted to growl.

I settled for smiling pleasantly and murmuring: "yes, you must be really stressed".

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beautiful, no?
My General Manager's back in the country.

Albeit for approx 24 hours before she disappears again.

I feel better just having her within the borders of the land.

Absurd but true.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Photo shoot for programme head shots and some early publicity photos on Sunday.

And dear lord, aren't they beautiful??!

(Most grateful thanks to Silverback for sparing the time and enthusiasm. Thanks also to his womanful assistant, Bob!)
There's a post in progress (half written) on the RSC / NTS workshop at RSAMD at the weekend. But as its resounding legacy is unfortunately a boiling rage, it's possibly not such a bad thing that I haven't yet completed it.

The most peculiar consequence of the workshop - and this was entirely unexpected - is that having vowed all year that I would limit myself to one show - that's it, nice neat One - I came away from the workshop with a dark worming thought that I had to audition for our autumn show, Hamlet.

So this takes place tonight. Wish me bad luck so I don't get cast and can then spend the rest of the year devoting myself to my original intention, my dancing 'art'.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I passed my thousandth post count and I didn't even notice.

Well. Hurrah for me and my tenacity.

Or narcissism.

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Boy in the office chatting to A Girl in the office:

"I mean, I love the festival and all, but only if I've got nothing better to do."

Thursday, July 07, 2011

I had The Women in tonight.

With the exception of Antony's fleeting wife and our favourite girl soldier.

After torrential rain yesterday and a residually gloomy day today, the skies courteously cleared (a tribute perhaps to all the poor ill-served NoTW staff) and a bit of a pale blue sheet of a sky spread itself out over the city.

I do love rehearsing a show in the summer.

I sat - and they all strutted about with various degrees of hand-wringing - and of course I paid full attention to them. But was happily alert to the sun starting to think about setting as Alexas fretted about watering her garden, Iras flicked her wrists in irritation as she staggered over her (cunning tactic) flashcard lines, Cleo attempted to wave her arms explosively and Charmian stooped over one dead girl after another.

In fact, they beautifully directed themselves. There's one tiny scene towards the end of the miserable end of the show that consists of a plump total of 3 speeches. Under half a page, I think. And it hasn't really been working at all, thanks to an incredibly bad steer from me. But tonight, Iras observed that it was too fast so they slowed it all down, reblocked it from scritch scratch and now it's lovely.

Go The Women.

Well well well.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Chit chat with a boy at work.

I mention I'm doing a festival show. ("Mention" - who'm I kidding?)

He says (quite impressed / quite a good actor): "acting in it?"

I: "no, no, directing it."

He (clearly horrified but before he can stop himself): "oh my god. But you must be a real bitch to them."
If you see Tommy, give him a big huge hug from me, will you?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

In a peculiar clashing of worlds, I'm sitting at table, in front of my laptop (thanks again, dkpw), looking for footage of buildings being bombed to nothing in the middle of the desert.

A job I'm not wholly comfortable with as youtube throws up all sorts of footage as you'd imagine.

Alongside this, I'm wholly inappropriately gobbling the most delicately exquisite chocolates, courtesy of Artisan du Chocolat, courtesy of Taste of Edinburgh.

Wrong. So (deliciously) Wrong.
Returning to the subject of the music, I'm thinking of this for the Antony / Octavia scene.

Que penses tu?

Monday, July 04, 2011

I've now - on more than one occasion - tried to email my characters rather than my actors.

The great blurring of The Line.
Instant noodles ('vegetable' flavour) for tea.

Which equates to little spatters of 'vegetable' colour all over my laptop.

Welcome to x3 a week rehearsals.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Now I swear to god I didn't cast him purely for this reason (sorry, at all for this reason) but Enobarbus has a flat fit for the very king himself.

This is relevant only because the weather in Edinburgh today was astonishingly beautiful. And unlike anywhere further south, this - in the context of this summer - is a novelty worthy of note.

He's clearly feeling un-sun-kissed as he entreated me to relocate today's rehearsal to his (uh huh!) balcony. Which seems less ridiculous if you see the amply plump size of it. I'm sorry to say that it's possibly about the length of my entire flat.

So we had a fine old strut and fret on Antony's best mate's decking. As the Edinburgh skyline smiled on us. And the sun beat down on us (and dammit, I didn't suncream my snout!).

Remarkable to see how much finer our scrappy show looks with a backdrop of spires as opposed to a peeling map of Scotland, a dog-eared calendar featuring inspiring biblical quotations and a ramshackle collection of broken plastic toys.

Best of all, I made them write letters to each other - character exploration, don't you know? - so I got to sit and sunbathe. (And snack on cheese straws.)

Think I've got us a track to start the show. Well, the show 'window' to be specific. As I'm after something that will play as the audience come milling in.

So what do you think to this?

It's not the Scissor Sisters.

But it might do.

Friday, July 01, 2011


They did good.

Given that - bless their hearts - they've only run scraps to date AND that these scraps have never been in the right order, they made a remarkably good job of cobbling together something that looked like a show.

It staggered a bit in places but you'd expect that.

And some of the acting left a little to be desired.

But with 6 weeks to go, you'd hope there would be space for improvement as how on earth else would I occupy myself (and themselves) in the weeks to come?

Even time-wise, we were kind of ok. It came in at an hour and forty. So we need to shed 15 minutes.

Our Lovely Costume Lady is currently working on the Bard in the Botanics shows over in Glasgow and commented that their Midsummer Night's Dream (opened a week and a half ago to 4 star reviews) was running at an hour longer than it should have been with two days to go til curtain up.

So there's hope.