Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oh. Now. If you're at a loose end tonight, you could do worse than go see Arkle's We Happy Few.

I'd like to say it's a weird little play. But I can't. It's a weird incredibly long play. Three hours inc. interval. Practically a marathon. But it tells a worthy true story about a pair of women that set up a theatre company during the (second world) war and travelled around the (UK) country performing Shakespeare and perhaps some other plays too. They enlisted some other women too and a handy man driver and had all sorts of (long) laughs and japes in the ensuing years. Thom Dibdin writes cruelly but accurately about the unnecessarily tough and stringy meat of the script.

But lumpen script aside, there are some really lovely performances. Hilary is charming as the supposed sourpuss but actually just broken-hearted willpower behind the endeavour. Hazel does a fine and rousing comic but silently grieving turn. Bronagh is quite lovely as Charlie, the kind of androgynous one who - lazy script - turns out to be a lesbian. Great to see Danielle Farrow on stage and she was suitably tortured as the unforgiving Jewish mother who rose to the knifey occasion when necessary. And we had a very sweet northern maid and German sweetheart to add a little (more) romantic / tragic interest.

45 minutes shorter and it would have been all the more heart-rending. But this is no fault of the actors.

I don't know if there are any tickets left at all - but if you do get one, take a cushion.
Well. A rehearsal schedule for a cast of five is considerably easier than a schedule for a cast of seventeen now, isn't it?

It took me maybe an hour and a half. As opposed to several nights of hair tearing.

And met with one 'oh, sorry, I can't do these dates either' response as opposed to the usual six to eight which entirely screw up your carefully apportioned time slots.

Perhaps this small but perfectly formed play will be a breeze.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I have a small but perfectly formed cast.

This is very exciting.

Best of all, they appear to be able to cry on demand.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Auditions on Thursday night.

Controlled pandemonium could be a fair assessment.

My betraying AD and Cari did a super job of corralling everyone into submission.

By and large, I didn't feel we sat for vast swathes of time with no-one to see as they were all in with DG next door.

I expect I did over-read and under-read some poor people in a bid to keep the room occupied. So if you were one of these overworked individuals, apologies and thanks for your patience.

The night held a fair quantity of goosebumps, it must be said.

It never fails to impress me when people act - really properly act - in those dishevelled rehearsal rooms.

But then, now that we've penetrated the hallowed halls of Speirs whatever it is - Quay I think - as a consequence of The Amazing Weekend (TAW), it seems that NTS and Scottish Opera and GAMTA (and I'm still slightly mystified about the identity of this latter organisation) aren't so very much better off. Though they do sometimes have nice mirrors to reflect the shabbiness back at them. And a tad more space. And great coffee.

And now I feel rather like I'm holding my breath. This odd sense of the half done. I have one version of events in my head. And I'm hoping it will all shift and change about tomorrow when a whole bundle more properly acting people shuffle through the shabby doors for round two.

Wish them luck. Wish Mr G, Ms S, my betraying AD and myself luck.

For, as Mr (not Rufus) Wainwright said, we must make the best theatre we can.
Bit scared by the new look blogger.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


As my cousin who's much cooler than me casually offered in an email to me earlier this week, tres exciting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Creative inspiration for my auditions.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The extraordinary privilege tonight of seeing The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart at its mothership venue, the Ghillie Dhu, with a pack of 65 students from Telford in the audience.

The hall seats about 80 or 90 maybe, cabaret style. And it only dawned on me at the interval that I, in my dotage, was in the distinct minority. As the place was packed with The Young, a handful of their tutors and a sparse scattering of the general public.

I've tried to see this show four times.

When it first came to Edinburgh early last year. I let down everyone by being too late to get tickets.

I failed to get advance tickets last Fringe and queued up x2 times for returns. Failed both times despite long hot waits.

I tried to lure people down to the dark Border lands to see it. Only to discover tickets didn't and didn't and didn't go on sale.

And then - huzzah! - x2 precious extra dates added for Cari Silver's venue of shame. The Ghillie Dhu.

All worth the wait. The show bore all the hallmarks of. Pause. Davie Greig at his best.

Cracking music. Stupendously natural acting. And they must have been hauling this show round the provinces for getting on for a year and a half now. A magic site-specific enough to delight me staging. And a deliciously effervescent story.

A getting on for perfect production.

The Young were transfixed. I was torn between being transfixed by the show. And being transfixed by The Young being transfixed by the show.

And at the final bars of - well, I won't tell you what - let's just say the final song, The Young went nuts.

Standing ovations all round.

Just so.
I now officially have a Bitch.

My first ever.

This is very exciting.

@EmmaCarter, welcome.

I very much look forward to doing business with you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tonight tonight tonight it almost officially begins.

The First Auditionee.

It's most very exciting.
My weekend looked a lot like this.

It was amazing.

Unlike the as yet unpublished review of last year's RSC / NTS Open Stages workshop, this write up shall see the light of day at some point.

A very 'woop woop' to all involved in the meantime for (backslap backslap) making it so much fun.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My auditions are a week today. Just one week.

I am more excited than a child on Christmas Eve who didn't get any presents for the last three years because he broke a window (or sold the family umbrellas to the rag and bone man as happens to one of the brothers in a favourite childhood story book) but is due, at last, to be visited by Father C.

So currently confounding us is how we create a system that facilitates the simultaneous auditioning of potentially the same people but in multiple simultaneous permutations and combinations. Without leaving everyone on tenterhooks for sixteen hours and concurrently going mad.


If you've got any bright ideas, offer them up.

Otherwise, I shall see you in seven days plus sixteen hours with a bit less hair.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This made me think of B S Neill. For reasons that will quickly become clear if you regularly enjoy his blog.

Monday, April 09, 2012

I had a bit of a romantic moment with myself yesterday. And I'm still hugging it to myself today.

Six Degrees wound to its end on Saturday night. On account of FOH issues, I didn't get to watch it in its entirety again (I would've liked the hat trick) but I pottered happily about the theatre for 'act' one and then snuck into the auditorium for 'act' two.

From the looks of the second half, they did another cracking show. And then the tearing it all out swung into action. Which must have been accomplished, including sofa redelivery time, in a couple of hours.

And then the After Show party. The thanking of the director (and director's assitant!). David's beautiful living room. Seventeen bright eyed and (mostly) bushy tailed cast members. Assorted backstage people. Assorted hangers on. Ross and Emma squirming slightly - as you do - at being suddenly attended to.

And I had a "look what we've achieved" moment. All of these people. All of these other real day (and night) jobs. All these theses and other shows and hangovers and batches of fudge and long nights sitting and waiting and gathering sound effects and ebaying and emailing people and people and people and acting and line learning and masterpiece painting and tassle sewing. And all of that effort and all of that love gives us this one marvellous thing.

We all (you all) did that. Amazing.

Biggest hats off to Ross. A cracking debut, sir. We hope for more.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The show (Six Degrees) is brilliant brilliant. David and Lorraine are particularly brilliant. (Though Ross would beat me if he were to read this as they are all brilliant, to be fair.) A whole buncle of cracking little cameos.

There are about 3 tickets left for tonight so do get in quick if you're dithering.

As once it's gone, it's gone....

All the reason why I love the theatre so.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

First night last night.

Sold out.

Very proud of Mr Director.
I've written this story of personal ineptitude and general impracticality several times before here. So you can imagine the value I brought to Sunday's move in for Six Degrees yourself.

My hungover carcass at least arrived at the agreed meeting point on time. I ineptly carried a few light things to the van. Then I rushed around trying to look busy when we arrived at the venue. Beloved Adam House.

Everyone else performed vital tasks intrinsic to the essential set up of the show for the evening run throughs. I carried chairs here and there and thought hard about where my next Ribena was coming from.

Highlight of the day was pressing a laptop keypad to switch various lights on and off for the ever talented JGH. Oh, and hunting through a giant box of infinitessimally different coloured gels to find a certain straw like hue for the lights. And even that I performed sluggishly as I kept getting distracted by Ribena thoughts.

Still, I had fun. It's fabulous to be back in this gorgeous little theatre. Oh and I got to take some very nice pics of the kit. Obviously the most important task of all.