Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reading reading plays. And still, my amazon order hasn't arrived so I'm having to wander through stuff that I don't think is suitable but as a time filler, it's worth checking.

Sometime ago, in the dead of night in a holiday cottage bedroom, I was chatting to a friend of a friend, busy trying to be a writer, who spoke of one of her favourite writers, an Irish playwright called Marina Carr.

A stupendous play, said this Friend Of A Friend, is this Marina Carr's Portia Coughlan. So I rushed home and ordered up two volumes of her work.

Unfortunately, most of the two volumes are filled with plays that are preceded with "I have written these to be performed in the Midlands accent. This accent is stronger than is represented by the words written here but feel free to deliver them as authentically as possible." Or words to this effect.

And of course she's not meaning a nice neutral Midland England accent. It continues to pain me that vast swathes of brilliant contemporary literature aren't really available to us as I continue to think there's nothing worse than a play (well, some things - let's not be melodramatic - but it's wrong to do a play) that relies on a specific location delivered in Not The Right Accent.

There are a couple of plays tucked away at the back of volume two. The Cordelia Dream is a (long) two hander about "old man" who appears to be in love with "woman" and lies around drinking, smoking and playing the piano, interacting with this "woman". Until at the end, we discover that the woman is... made of dust.

I had higher hopes for Marble. A four person play. Nice neat cast size. Neutrally accented. But it turns out to be a middle class angst play. Art and Anne are married. Ben and Catherine are married. One startling night (though it isn't very startling really), we discover that Art and Catherine dreamt lewdly about each other. Cue much soul searching how long we've been married how tiresome it's all become how we've settled pointlessness of life debate. And guess what happens? Art and Catherine, pages and pages and pages later, run off with each other.

I shall continue to hunt for something a little less suburban.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Such are the things that are possible when Sundays aren't sucked up with rehearsals.

Tinker Tailor was good too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday morning.

Getting there.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fancying a little hip-hop (and as it's entirely absent from my music collection), I hunted out (that's a lie actually. The CD was laying demandingly on top of the vertiginous heap) the 'soundtrack' to A & C.

Popped it on the stereo.

And yet again I'm astounded by how the sound of the twiddley fiddley stringy te de da da da immediately takes me back to sitting at the back of the QMH at the so-called sound desk (aka CD player) impatiently fading then pausing then 'rewinding' the CD to the start of track one as the audience shuffle and fidget and the venue staff fankle about, apparently pointlessly, delaying delaying the beginning of the show as the actors fidget and fake camaraderie on stage. And track one strikes up again like Groundhog Day.

Fond fidgety memories.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More show detritus shed.

Last night, the too large throw and the throw wannabe (i.e. a duvet cover) were both returned to their owner.

My flat is starting to feel quite airy again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There's a general rule when it comes to props and the lending of Things for use within a play that you shouldn't lend anything that you really don't want to lose.

It's not that we actor / director types are so wild cavalier and irresponsible that we can't be trusted with a preciousness. But more that in the general (hair-sticking-up-flurry) of putting the show together, it's possible that certain items, may at certain points, get overlooked or mislaid or placed somewhere that someone believes to be unfailingly foolproof secret safe - and then no-one can find it again.

And then the director is left with a lurking pit of dread in their stomach when The Thing cannot be retrieved and returned to the once proud now despairing owner. Such as was experienced last summer with the precious sailor's hat once belonging to someone's (possibly even now dead) father during his prized and fondly recollected naval days.

Take this feeling of doubt and self-loathing and magnify it by 1,000,000,000 when The Thing is lent by A Child.

But in this instance (this festival), as The Thing was a golden snake necklace, it seemed like too good a prop / costume opportunity to pass up. So I took it - albeit with hesitation - and with many attempts to gauge the perceived emotional value of the said serpent. And I deemed that it was a risk worth taking.

More fool me.

Suddenly it was lost.

The loss was discovered only in the wake of the play. When Child's mother reasonably enquired as to its whereabouts. "Oh well" (a sad look and sigh) "if it is lost, well I suppose it'll be alright. But I don't know where I'd get another such thing. As it was quite (sideways sorrowful look) UNUSUAL, you know...?"

Oh yes. I know.

So I scoured my house in case it was lurking nesting in the heap of costumes on my hall floor. Cleo and I we scoured the props cupboard and the shower (yes indeed) at the rehearsal rooms to see if it had slithered down some pesky gap. I sifted through the dust and the mothwings at our props / costume / set store in case it had slithered of its own accord to live amongst more dead kindred. And nothing. No serpent.

I must be honest. I had given up hope. (Don't tell the Child's Mother. She must never doubt my ability to take care - good care - of any precious props. I also had Mother's Father's prized golden paper knife which became Cleo's death weapon of choice.)

Until I set about the final stages of the clear up of my long neglected home at the weekend. Finally, I hauled the other crumpled dresses out of the Morrisons carrier bag long lying neglected on my chaise longue to hang them more respectfully on my student's clothing rail. And - wait - what's this? - nestling at the bottom of the shabby supermarket carrier, one golden shoe and - hzah! - a golden snake!

Honour, at last, is restored.

The lesson is - don't live like a pig.

For your piggery shall find you out.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Some belated backstage photos of my boys (and girls) getting ready to play.

(There's one of me flying up the stairs from the stage to the lighting desk but I look so wild and frazzled and hair in the air that this photo shall remain unpublished.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"I have broken my own heart and I will never be able to mend it."

I'm such a hopeless romantic.

I just ordered a play purely on the strength of this line.

Thinking I should branch out from the confines - albeit ample, plump and sturdy confines - of the SCDA library, I've just been a play-huntin' on the 'net.

I await my orders with eager anticipation.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Today is an exciting day for x2 reasons.

For one, I'm blogging on the bus. An action which has been eluding me for some considerable time on account of blogger's mobile site. Not site would be more accurate actually. But now (frabjous day), they have loosed an app on the digital world so I can pontificate on the move. O how this makes your collective hearts sing!

The second rather fabulous thing is that I am on a vehicle en route to our costume store with x4 bags of assorted potentially Egyptian but subsequently rejected paraphernalia, mostly of the fabric variety. Though I have some chains. And a small Pharoah's head.

My hallway at very long last is clear.

Very frabjous.
Line in my head this morning belongs to Caesar. Unfortunately I can only remember approx three words of it:

"He has broken the letter of the law.
And I will never something something something
Something something something something."

Any ideas?

Though this did guide me in my groping towards a favourite (misquoted I expect) line spoken on his hearing of Antony's death:

"The breaking of so great a thing
Should make a greater crack."

(Such a horrible misquote I suspect.)

Anyway, quite.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tonight, wistfully re-reading my beloved (or rather Michel Tremblay's beloved) Solemn Mass for A Full Moon in Summer.

And get a load of this.

At one point, nine of the characters, very solemn, in unison, must say:

O moon, O blood of Christ, O moon, O blood of Christ,
In your passage across the sky. O moon, O blood of Christ,
In your passage across the sky, bring me peace. I cast
My gaze upon you. Hear me. Hear me. Pour your blood-red gaze
Upon me and hear my prayer. My life is falling apart.
My soul is in tatters. Help me. Bring me peace. O moon,
O blood of Christ. O moon, O blood of Christ, in your passage
Across the sky. O moon, O blood of Christ, in your passage
Across the sky, bring me peace.

Cast your mind back, for one second, to flash flicker burn press et al.

And that answers that, then.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

btw, I lied.

I'm not working on nothing.

I'm kind of loosely thinking about this.
Poor dress.

It's just about uncreased.

And I'm about to stuff it back into a bag again.

Sorry, garment.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Zumba class teacher considerately included Beyonce's Single Ladies in her line-up tonight.

And oh Neil, I've forgotten half of the words.

I'm ashamed...
It occurred to me suddenly today that given the nature of the social occasions ahead of me this week, I should extract one at least of the dresses discarded by Cleopatra (in this case, as a consequence of the sticky zip) from the plastic bag still discarded on my chaise longue and now of course heaped over with other, more frequently worn, garments.

So I duly fetched it this evening.

Poor garment.

At least one month of crumpledom has taken its toll.

And I'd had it dry cleaned before that.

But of course I shouldn't wish to iron it. That might burn the delicate stuff of it. And that would never do.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Two remarkable things happened today, fortuitously at approx the same time.

I sat in a garden chair outside the one-time village library that is now a sprawling and properly higgledy-piggledy house belonging to an aunt and uncle of mine. I sat for approx twenty minutes doing nothing.

And the second remarkable thing: the sun came out.

Happy weekend.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Well, that secret script I've just read was very good.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Oh look.

This is nice.

Thanks, Thom.
Time for a misquote.

Now I see. I see...

(in Fulvia's death, how mine received shall be.)

That you can't make an omelette with one egg.

(See how laudably, I try and imbue the basest tasks with a Shakespearean grandeur?)

Thursday, September 08, 2011


The Stage, I'm sure, is only the beginning.

I'm never going to succeed in overturning this awful "Grads" name now, am I?

Ta dah!

As you can imagine, we're all rather pleased.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I picked up a cheque tonight from the lovely man who ran the box office for the smaller of my two fringe venues.

A nicely plump amount as it happens.

I felt quite faint with pleasure.

I shall keep the glorious total to myself until we have the final (2,000 tickets' worth of) takings from the Fringe box office before we announce the 'results'.

But we should be in the black.

Till the roof bill comes.
I grandly announced to the committee last night that we should have made some sort of profit on the festival show as we'd sold 2,000 tickets through the Fringe office alone. And that didn't even take the venue ticket sales into account.

Obviously getting A&C confused with my SECC show.

Monday, September 05, 2011

I gave the keys to our rehearsal rooms away to someone else at tonight's committee meeting.

My heart sang a soft Hallelujah chorus as I passed them across the table.

Abdicating responsibility. There's nothing better.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

In the Booker Prize judge's speech last year, Andrew Motion (Professor Sir to give him his correct address) described cultural and artistic life as "the foundation and high ambition of our humanity" for the way it "makes us more nearly ourselves, and sets us more steadily on the road to what we might become".

I suppose he'd just been to see our Tempest.
Two weeks on (and it feels like two weeks and it doesn't), I had enough of a stretch of time in my house to think at last about washing the uniforms prior to their return.

So I snatched them out of the suitcase in which they'd been sitting these past days, pre gym class, and hurled them into the washing machine.

But not before noticing that Eros clearly sweated less than the others as her army badge is pristine (now snip snipped off). (The others are blurring round the sweaty edges.)

Dolabella must have little legs as his trousers were carefully turned up.

And recollecting the continual vying between Antony and Enobarbus to see whose sleeves could be rolled the highest in the name of looking cool.

(The winner varied, nightly.)

The soggy combats are now ranged across my washing line out the back. Goodness knows what the neighbours think.

I wish I could acquire a pack of men from somewhere, dress them in the clean uniforms and send them noisily on their way, spitting, stamping, swearing, listening to noisy violent rap music and generally drawing the neighbours out to look as they spilled out of my flat into the weatherly uncertain day. Just for effect, you understand.

But then I'd have to wash them all over again. So it's probably for the best.

Unless you're reading this, Jake Gyllenhaal.

In which case, I'm ready.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Rediscovering normal life / continuing to gorge on cultural life, a lovely film last night. The Guard.

And oh my goodness I'd convinced myself (based on a slim shred of - as it turns out - ill-read evidence) that it was written by my favourite Martin McDonagh.

Wrong wrong wrong.

It had nothing to do with Martin. And everything to do with his brother John who both wrote and directed the beautifully shot finery.

Well Cari, I take back my pompous lectures about how it bore all the hallmarks of Martin's art, accompanied by lengthy descriptions of my favourite of his scripts.

What a hot-air filled to almost (if not) bursting point fool.

Anyway, the film was good.