Thursday, May 17, 2012

Danza Contemporanea de Cuba last night. Festival Theatre.

I didn't really have time for this show. What with my last Spanish class of the term's last night's Fiesta, sixty-eight different things to get done at work, an endurance test of a work night out tonight and a plane to catch on Friday. #middleclasswoes, I might say if I were one of those silly narcissists that twitter to myself all day.

But it was booked and it was sure to be fun. And actually, luckily, it was.

First dance. Twenty pretties. Boys in shorts and vests. Girls in vests and tiny flippy skirts. All in boxing gloves. A drum drum drum beat. (Cue Brian: "I don't much like drums.) Although they did lapse into a ramshackle acapella tune at the end when the drums fell silent. They danced about. What more can I say?

Piece two. Seven men. Black trousers and waistcoats with a rainbow array of primary coloured shirts across the different fellows. The soundtrack: a sort of Andrew Lloyd Webber on acid remix of various extracts from Carmen. (Perhaps not solely - there may have been outside influences.) And this, I suppose, was intended as the humourous piece. I hated it. They danced in a silly mocking way (I fancied), all flicky hands, pretend bulls, hilarious pairs of red thongs a-flyin' as they traversed the stage. (Brian: "I loved it when they jumped so high they left the stage". I didn't notice these jumps. I just sat there stewing about all the other things I could've been doing and cursing my silly pretentious sense of humour.

Great debates with myself about whether or not I just leave before the end but by meanness wins the day and there I am as the curtain goes up on round 3.

Which, luckily for my populist and superficial tastes, was like a Gap ad. the twenty in their vests and pants again. Though different pants - and jut like a Gap ad, they changed their vests constantly throughout. Nice funky soundtrack. Quasi-ballet but more like street dance. Now this - this - was much more like it. Thirty minutes of high energy beautiful writhing.

I don't know what Brian thought of that one as the twenty pretties has scarcely left the stage before I was - uncharitably - flying down the road for the bus.

But thanks for visiting us from Habana, pretties. And do come back soon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

So as a (slightly horrifying) new build this morning, the bus driver offered, with a delighted grin:

"Well run!"

A new Olympic sport, perhaps?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I thought I'd make an attempt this time around to 'crowd source' my show soundtrack.

In the name of not making any decisions, you understand.

So I spent many small hours (last minute) Sunday night hunting about on spotify to find links to the tracks I was considering for the various scene starts and ends so my boys and girls would be able to easily find them, pass judgement and suggest far cooler replacements.

I oh so very smug printed off copies of my labours and handed them out proudly at the rehearsal the next night.

Four days later, it dawned on me that spotify links on the printed page weren't very useful as spotify shortcut the links to a handy user friendly artist reference / song title. For example:

These foolish things – Bryan Ferry

Bryan Ferry – These Foolish Things

So the spotify links on the printed page looked like nothing so much as a waste of time duplication.
Idiot girl.

Two months on, time to retrieve my photos of one dingy and one beautifully sunny day in the Lakes from March this year.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

My Spanish homework for tonight's class is excellent. (I mean the task set is excellent - not specifically my response to it.) We have to give a presentation on our ideal city. Here's an obscure clue to mine.

Ah. Familiar hit-over-the-head little bit tired morning-after rehearsal feeling.

How I've missed you.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Rehearsals start tonight.

Of course I want to burst with excitement.

I have a notion that this play - this one - will be the play in which I TELL the actors nothing. No, for I shall let them find their own way through the script. The story telling, the character creation, the whimsy, charm, humour and magic of the theatre shall be theirs. And then they shall feel a far greater sense of ownership, pride and personal achievement than they have ever known before. And no-one will ever not attend rehearsals.

Let's see how long this lasts.

Start the stopwatch.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

En route to meet my lovely assistant director for some planning and preparing.

I'm quite liking this idea of sharing.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

 Sunday afternoon found me at the Barbican.

Oddly, courtesy of Mark Ravenhill.

I spied a tweet from he a couple of weeks ago raving about Some German Play that he said was absolutely tremendous.

I spied a Guardian review of said aforementioned tremendous play. That said it was tremendous and went so far as to bestow five stars on it.

Then it dawned on me that I had a free day in London town courtesy of an obliging Monday morning meeting in Reading.

A little google and a 4pm on the appropriate Sunday performance was revealed. With about eleven tickets left, all with a restricted view, all exorbitantly expensive. But of course this only made me more determined to go. So I snapped one up.

The show was (is) Gross und Klein. Courtesy of Sydney Theatre Company. 

By a remarkable twist of fate, I've seen this theatre company before. Their Streetcar Named Desire with Cate Blanchett as Blanche. It was AMAzing.

This Gross und Klein also considerately featured Cate Blanchett. And this five star review.

So there I was, further swelling the coffers of the Barbican clutching an expensive coffee and cake to fortify me for pleasures ahead. Front row seat, though slightly to one side of the stage. The view didn't appear remotely restricted. I felt triumphant. And a further thrill when two most intellectual bohemian (trilby) men behind me excused me and asked whether I'd had to smuggle my coffee in. I said (too Traverse familiar) that I'd just trotted in, bold as brass and no-one had fussed. Oh, they said. Sagely. And I fancied their eyes were full of new respect. They sat back. And I heard them speaking of a recent conversation with Martin Crimp (his translation, you see). Not, as I might, in reference to something I'd heard on the radio. But in reference to a real conversation. That they had had. With Martin Crimp. I shivered with pleasure. This surely was where the theatrical zeitgeist was being fashioned as we supped our expensive caffeinated milk.

Eagerly, bohemianly, I asked the man next to me if he knew anything about the play. Oh no, nothing, he said, glancing nervously at me. A why are you speaking to me I don't know you you're not a bohemian just some girl that's bothering me look. He'd been told it was very good, he muttered, so had come to see it. I waited for him to ask me in return. He did not. I persisted. Did he know how long it lasted? I'd imagined an hour and a bit. Maybe an hour and a half. Spoilt Fringe audience. Three hours, he thought. This shut me up.

A little silence.

Lights down.

It began.

Beautiful set. Blank stage. A white perspex gutter at the front of it. Framed by a - imagine a prosc arch height wire picture frame.  A pair of adult size Mary Jane shoes (white) on the black step down from the white perspex panel. A cocktail glass plus lurid drink to one side of the perspex panel. A beautiful opening.

Lights out.


Lights up.

There was Cate. Feet in shoes, sat approx six feet away from me, fiddling with the straw in the cocktail glass.


And so it began.

Now the problem was I thought I was seeing something else altogether. I'd somehow absorbed from a whistlestop review of The Five Star Review that this was a play about a woman (Cate) who went mad. So I spent the entire (probably two hours forty inc. interval) seeing this in the story.

Lotte (Cate) potters through life driven increasingly mad - though maybe mad already - by people's (unsympathetic) foibles.

Having read some reviews subsequently, you might also see it as: Lotte potters through life observing people's foibles but trying to remain kind.

Maybe both ways are right.

In lots of ways, the story doesn't matter. The production was incredibly beautiful. Incredibly smartly staged. A witty script. Beautiful lights. Cracking sound. Spot on designer costumes. Some gorgeous set. The phone box. Man!
Brilliantly cast across the board when it came to the middle-class unsympathetic foible-rs.

And Cate. A proper star. Like you didn't really want to watch anyone else when she was on stage. And whether she was mad or whether she was nice but misunderstood doesn't really matter because you had all the sympathy in the world with her as she skipped and growled and simpered and fiddled with the straw and crawled and leapt and slunk and danced or simply gazed golden and serene into space. Like she was the only person in the room.

It's a tribute to the other actors that they were entirely a match for her.

I came away confused bemused and puzzled. As the resolve didn't seem to bear any relation to the story I'd expected. A couple of reviews later and I figured I'd mis-imagined the story. Admittedly, I know nothing of mad absurdist German playwrights from the seventies so an appreciation of their quest might have helped. I imagined Siobhan would have been able to give me the dramaturgy.

Peculiarly, though puzzlement continues to abound, it was a magic two and some hours that I would not swap for the world. A fellow attendee sent me her review of it, perhaps sympathising with my confused post-show tweet. Perhaps I was not alone in my befuddle.

Must try harder. Read more. Be cleverer. Same old.

Still, it was beautiful, stellar fun. For that alone, I'd buy the ticket over.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Tonight's fun was The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Lyceum.

I love Martin McDonagh and I read this script - which I think is the first in a trilogy - a few years back when I was (as ever) on the hunt for scripts.

And although it was almost immediately apparent that I would never be able to direct the finery (I mean, who would choose to do a play with a strong local regional accent, in god's name?) (and it's full of gore), I liked it so much that I gobbled up all three.

(Oh, ok, wikipedia and I'm kind of wrong and kind of right about the trilogy. There is a trilogy but the third one isn't published. So who knows what 'third one' I read? No matter.)

Anyway, this not first in a trilogy was nevertheless excellent fun. The plot is mostly nonsense but bestowed with a little gravitas with the help of faintly political overtones borrowed from recent Northern Irish history.  Maybe I have an immediate affinity with the plot on account of cats.

But I loved it from the moment its beautiful set was revealed. Beautiful slidey trundley front room. Which trundley slid back way back to reveal a prettily lit backcloth behind a fence and artful stone heaps to make a sort of passing place for t'other scenes.

I expected to love the script and not be very impressed by the production. But actually, I much liked both. Maybe it was just perfect Friday night (middle class) non-sensical fodder. But I liked the acting. Bit of a crush on the Lieutenant predictably. Beautifully judged use of sound. Lovely lights. Maybe the pace lagged a tiny portion towards the end. Probably he (Martin) should have abandoned the last scene. But then we wouldn't have had the animal wrangler's nightmare moment. And that accounted for a good deal of the joke.

So. Super fun. Think it's on for another week. I paid the entire highest price for the ticket and don't begrudge a penny.  Enjoy.

So that's embarrassing.

This morning, The Man Who Lives Opposite (yes, I know it's all been quiet on this front recently. The only flicker of excitement recently when I thought I worked out that he owned the Edinburgh (floor) stripping company. But actually, I think I might have been deceived given his direction of travel) passed close by me as I ran yes RAN down my street in my usual (usually unobserved) Beat The Bus race. The odds were so stacked against me catching it this morning that I didn't even have time to catch his eye for a rueful 'yes you'd have thought at my age that I'd know better' look. I instead had to settle for a peripheral burn of shame as I peripherally registered that he offered facially 'what tf are you doing running RUNNING about in your street wear at this time of the morning?'

You win some. You lose some. As they say.

I did catch the bus.
Man oh man. Falling asleep over my laptop.

That's the mark of a girl with a week to go to a show.

Not a girl with three months to go.

Overly conscientious, perhaps?

Or just trying hard.

I will I promise tell more at some appropriate juncture.

But if I try and do it now, judging by my final paragraphs, I'll only serve up very late night QMH drivel.

Two of you I think know what this means.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Another of those utterly mystifying pictures.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The trouble with this 'world according to the RSC / NTS' school of directing is that it's very time-consuming.

O to not have a day job.